The Purdy Lady Eagles strengthened their claim on second place in the Ozark 7 with a crushing 72-39 win over Southwest on Thursday, Feb. 5. Purdy roared to a 20-point lead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back.
An appreciative home crowd watched the Lady Eagles work their uptempo game to perfection against the overmatched Lady Trojans. It was "an all-around good team effort," according to Purdy Coach Kelly George.
In the opening minutes, Southwest could not hold up against the defensive onslaught of the Purdy press, and the Lady Eagles swept to an 8-2 lead after less than two minutes, highlighted by Shelby White's steal and coast-to-coast conversion effort.
White scored from the field and then hit the second of two free throw attempts on consecutive possessions midway through the first quarter to give Purdy a 16-7 lead. With Southwest on the ropes, Addy Roller drained a trey from the deep left corner for a 19-7 Purdy advantage.
The net had barely stopped quivering before Shelby Scott and Roller hit back-to-back bombs to run the lead to 25-7. Roller's shot cleared the twine with 2:20 on the clock. Southwest failed to score again in the frame, and Purdy's Brooke Swadley eluded the defense for a layup in the final seconds for a 27-7 first quarter score.
Southwest's girls came alive in the second quarter, and earned a 14-14 draw for the period. All five starters for the Lady Trojans scored in the frame, with Chelsea Sneed working hard inside for her two baskets. But White answered with three hoops and a pair of free throws for the Lady Eagles and teamed with Audrey Patton for a textbook two-on-one break, with Patton scoring off the unselfish assist. The home team led by 41-21 at half.
The third quarter belonged to Patton. The 5'11" sophomore post showed an unstoppable baby hook from the left block and scored on three consecutive trips down the floor to establish a 58-27 lead for the Lady Eagles with 3:02 on the clock. White then drove for consecutive layups, and Roller hit a pair of freebies to extend the lead to 64-27.
Sneed dug down and found the range on a rare trey for Southwest, and then Mariah Fields hit her second free-throw attempt for the 64-31 end-of-quarter score.
As the fourth quarter started, Swadley came up with a steal for Purdy and sailed down the hardwood for the hoop and harm. Her free throw made it a 67-31 game.
With the mercy clock running in the background, spectators turned to their programs to identify all the new faces on the floor. The two teams scored 8 apiece in the final frame, and the Lady Eagles won convincingly, 72-39.
White led Purdy with 22 points, Patton had 17 and Roller scored 16 on the strength of her four treys. Sneed was Southwest's high scorer with 16, and Fields had 9.
Coach George complimented all her players on their effort and sharp play after being off for almost two weeks.
"Audrey Patton played very well, and showed some good moves in the paint," Coach George said.
The Lady Eagles have eight regular season games remaining with seven of them against Ozark 7 opponents. Purdy already has two conference losses, a 56-54 heartbreaker to Joplin McAuley and a 59-47 loss to league-leading Exeter.
Southwest will attempt to right the ship its uncharacteristic losing streak, with five of the seven remaining games against conference opponents.