The MSHSAA Class 4 District 12 Basketball Tournament at Monett opened with a mild upset Monday night. Lightly-regarded Reeds Spring raced to a big third-quarter lead, then withstood a furious Cassville comeback to defeat the Lady Wildcats in overtime, 62-59.
Danielle Curnes, of the Lady Wolves, poured in 23 points in the contest and had double-digit support from both Autumn Flaugh and Sabra Boes. Emily Speakman led Cassville with 23 points.
Ariel Cook hit a baseline jumper to give Cassville the lead just 12 seconds into the game. But then Reeds Spring sprinted to a 12-2 lead, capped by a trey from Flaugh at the 5:32 mark of the first quarter. The Lady Wildcats struggled with turnovers against the press, but Jaime Everett pulled Cassville within 17-13 with a jumper to end the period.
The second quarter saw the Lady Wolves stretch the lead again with Flaugh sinking another trey for a 31-22 lead in the final minute. Lindsey Turner canned a pair of free throws to end the half, and Reeds Spring owned a 31-24 lead at intermission.
The Lady Wolves opened the third period with an 11-2 run. Kennadi Howard cut the lead to 42-28 with free throws, but then Flaugh connected again from beyond the arc to give Reeds Spring a 45-28 leads with 3:19 on the quarter clock.
At that point, Lindsey Turner came to the rescue, hitting three long bombs to lead the Lady Wildcats back into contention. Trailing 37-45 at the final break, Cassville roared back to trail by just 50-49 with exactly two minutes to play.
The Lady Wolves were their own worst enemy in the fourth quarter, missing nine of 10 free-throw attempts and leaving the door open for the comeback. Plus, Cassville took control of the glass down the stretch, gaining possessions on offense and limiting opportunities for the Lady Wolves.
Boes surprised the Cassville defense late, taking the ball to the hole and scoring for a 52-49 lead with 1:09 to play. Howard fed Speakman underneath for the answering bucket, and a 52-51 score. With the clock running down, Cassville missed, Reeds Spring recovered and then Turner came up with a steal. She was fouled going to the hoop and converted the first of a pair of free throws to send the game to overtime.
But the Lady Wildcats could never get a lead. Reeds Spring scored the first two baskets of overtime and held Cassville at bay. With both Speakman and Everett on the bench with a full quota of fouls, the Lady Wildcats were limited on offense at the game's most critical point.
Cassville did have one last gasp, but a last second trey attempt was offline at the buzzer as the clock ran out on the 62-59 thriller.
"I thought we did a good job of hanging in there and having a chance to win," said Cassville's Chris Shore after the game. "They shot better than we expected, and you just have to give them credit for making plays."
Cassville scorers: Emily Speakman, 23; Lindsey Turner, 15; Kennadi Howard, 9; Jamie Everett, 8; and Ariel Cook, 4Reeds Spring scorers: Danielle Curnes, 23; Autumn Flaugh, 14; Sabra Boes, 13; Casi Williams, 5; Kortnie Vernon, 4; and Sam Akromis, 3.