Lady Wildcats fight off Lamar, 49-42
With the snow melting away, area high schools played a bevy of games on "Makeup Saturday" as teams fought to fit in contests before the start of district tournaments.
The Cassville Lady Wildcats had the home fans standing and cheering in appreciation on Saturday afternoon, and that was still during the junior varsity contest. The Cassville jayvee pulled out a double-overtime thriller against Lamar in the matinee game, beating the Lady Tigers 39-38.
Trailing 38-37 in the second extra frame with less than a half minute to play, Katelyn Pitts ripped a pass to Destinee Naugle for what proved to be the winning basket. Sydney Curnes led Cassville in the victory with 13 points.
Chris Shore's varsity squad also recorded a win, beating the Lamar Lady Tigers, 49-42. The game was a tale of two halves though, as Cassville built an early double-digit lead and then had to hang on for dear life in the closing minutes.
Lamar led early by a 5-2 count, but the Lady Wildcats recovered to take a 15-11 lead at quarter's end. Emily Speakman scored 7 points in the opening period and Kennadi Howard added 6 as Cassville's offense recovered from an off night against East Newton the night before.
The second quarter saw more of the same as Cassville's guards took advantage of Lamar's small backcourt.
Lindsey Turner rebounded at will and posted up in the paint for easy baskets as the game wore on. The Ladycats took their biggest lead of the half when Jaime Everett swished a jumper from the free-throw line on an inbounds toss. Cassville led by 27-14 with 2:00 on the clock.
Lamar's Ciarra Shoff quieted the crowd with a trey from the left wing for the final goal of the half, and Cassville held a 27-17 advantage at intermission.
The Lady Wildcats opened the third period with a pair of baskets to build a 14-point lead. Ariel Cook's assist led to another Speakman score, and Everett's feed to Howard from the high post resulted in a 31-17 Cassville lead.
But from that point, Cassville's lead fell like a pump-and-dump penny stock.
With the difference stuck at 10 points, Lamar's Ciara Shoff nailed a trey from the top of the key to create a 35-28 score with 1:58 on the third quarter clock. Cassville's Lyndsey Nolan lobbed inside to Turner, and she drew a hard foul from Brooke McDonald. The two true free throws gave the Lady Wildcats a 37-28 advantage.
Shoff drove from half court and scored for Lamar, and then Howard's pull-up jumper found net as the clock ran down. The Lady Wildcats reached the final break ahead 39-30.
The Lady Tigers opened the final frame with an 11-4 run to pull within 43-41 with 3:50 to play. Speakman came up with a steal at half court but missed the driving layup in traffic. Howard, following the play at warp speed, grabbed the rebound and scored to up the lead to 45-41 with 2:28 left in the contest.
The clock drained away, and Lamar had another dilemma. The Lady Tigers had only two team fouls and was five assaults away from putting Cassville on the line to trade possessions. It took 23 precious seconds to reach that seventh team foul, and Howard went to the free-throw line with just 46 seconds left in the game. She converted the first of two shots, and the lead stood at 46-41.
Cook, who was honored with Turner on Senior Night, scored Cassville's final three points at the line. Shore's girls had weathered the second-half storm, winning 49-42.
The win pushed the Cassville season record to 8-16.
Cassville scorers: Kennadi Howard, 17; Emily Speakman, 13; Lindsey Turner, 8; Jamie Everett, 6; and Ariel Cook, 5.
Lamar scorers: Ciara Shoff, 9; Addy Wood, 8; Katelyn Luce, 7; Bethany Graves, 7; Brooke McDonald, 7; Ashia White, 2; and Ashley Parker, 2.