Hannah Elkins led Cassville to a 52-44 victory over Hollister with her steady 19-point performance on Tuesday, Jan. 5.
Hollister led 11-9 after a single period. The Lady Tigers featured a balanced scoring attack with four starters contributing to the early lead. Elkins scored 6 of Cassville's 9 first quarter points.
The Ladycats reversed the roles in the second quarter as Gail Edie scored two baskets and a free throw to lead four Cassville scorers in the frame, and the home team took a 22-19 halftime lead.
Cassville opened the third period with a 13-2 run to take control of the game. Hollister's new strategy to control Elkins was to put her on the foul line, and she responded with five-for-six accuracy in the third. An Edie basket with 1:18 on the third quarter clock gave the Ladycats their biggest lead at 37-23.
Trailing 39-28 at the start of the fourth quarter, Hollister traded baskets with Cassville for three minutes. Then a long deuce by Becca Felks cut the lead to 7 at 45-38. Things got a little tense on the Cassville bench when Cassandra Kimbrough cut the lead to 5 with her jumper in the lane with 3:53 to play.
Then Cassville's Marti Richmiller found Edie in the lane with a laser-guided assist, and the turnaround jumper pushed the lead back to 7 at 47-40.
The Ladycats rebounded a Hollister miss and milked the clock from 2:30 down to 2:03 before turning the ball back to the Tigers with a miss. But Hollister could not score, and Cassville bled the clock even more. Coach Chris Shore called a timeout with 1:12 to play, and then Richmiller found Edie all alone under the basket for the game-clinching layup.
"The Neosho Holiday Tournament was a great experience for our girls," said Shore after the game. "After losing Emily Orrell, the girls had to learn to play some new positions and new roles, and they grew up a lot during the tournament."
The maturity was evident during the Hollister game, especially at the guard positions. Both Lindsey Turner and Kennadi Howard played strong, smart basketball throughout the contest, and their efficiency allowed Cassville's press and inside game to take over in the third quarter.
Hollister 11 08 09 16 44
Cassville 9 13 17 13 52
Cassville scorers: Hannah Elkins 19, Gail Edie 14, Kennadi Howard 6, Marti Richmiller 5, Lindsey Turner 4, Jaime Everett 2, Sara Byler 2.
Hollister scorers: Becca Felks 13, Jessica Rizzo 11, Lainie Bishop 5, JaeLynn Ellison 5, Kelsey Kapella 4, Cassandra Kimbrough 4, Alicia Bratten 2.