The Southwest Lady Trojans went on the road Friday night, winning an Ozark 7 Conference game at Exeter, 49-25. Just a scant three weeks earlier, these two teams met in the opening round of the Walnut Grove Tournament and Southwest squeaked out a 43-41 win.
But in the game that counted in the conference race, the Lady Trojans ramped up their defense and rebounding. The Lady Tigers were held to under 10 points in every period, and the Lady Trojans snared a ton of boards at both ends of the floor.
Michaela Mitchell hauled in 7 offensive rebounds alone, ending the night with a total of 11. Southwest totaled 27 rebounds for the game and collected 13 steals in a stellar defensive performance.
Southwest led 13-8 at the first break and 23-14 at halftime. An 11-3 third quarter sank Exeter's hopes, and the Lady Trojans finished the night with a 15-8 rush in the fourth quarter.
Southwest's Taylor Mettlach led all scorers with 18 points on nine-for-14 shooting, all of them in the paint or low post area. Shannon Mitchell scored 12 for the Lady Trojans.
The victory gave Steve Rissler's club an 8-4 record and lifted Southwest's hopes. The Lady Trojans endured a pair of brutal losses at Walnut Grove to Clever and Fordland, and the victory in the old Exeter gym provided a big boost of confidence for a very young Southwest team.
"Shannon Mitchell played her best game of the year for us," noted Rissler. "The girls are starting to gel as a team, and understand the importance of playing with 100 percent effort on every play. I am confident we will continue to improve every game and be peaking at district time."