Lady Wildcats enjoy big game and beat Lamar, 43-33
The Cassville Lady Wildcats built a 26-18 halftime lead with a 20-point second quarter and held the visiting Lamar Lady Tigers to just 4 points in the fourth quarter while claiming a 43-33 Big 8 Conference victory on Thursday night.
While the Cassville offense sputtered and also struggled at the free-throw line, that trademark impenetrable zone defense held Lamar at bay throughout most of the contest.
Lamar led with a football score at the end of the first quarter, 7-6. Bethany Graves scored all 7 points for the Lady Tigers in the period. Raeghan Blisard, Emily Speakman and Jaime Everett all scored for Cassville in a tentative period for both teams.
But in the second quarter, Cassville found some openings. The Lady Wildcats had a decided height advantage, especially at the guard positions. Speakman scored 8 points in the paint against the Lamar zone, and Blisard saved a Katelyn Pitts' tapback and nailed a 12-footer to beat the buzzer and open the 8-point halftime lead.
Lamar made a game of it in the third quarter, opening with a 10-0 run to take a 28-26 lead. The Lady Wildcats went scoreless for the first five and a half minutes of the period until Speakman scored with a putback to tie the score at 28-28.
Lamar's Ryan O'Sullivan hit one free throw to regain the lead, but Kennadi Howard went to the block with a three-inch height advantage against Taylor Jackson, and her bounce off the glass gave Cassville a 30-29 lead at the final break.
Blisard went wild in the fourth period, scoring 7 points alone. With the game going nuclear around her, the smooth freshman looked like a character out of "The Matrix" -- cool and under control and moving at a gear higher than anyone else on the court.
Cassville's defense dug in and held the Lady Tigers to a single field goal and a pair of free throws, and the Lady Wildcats took the 43-33 win. Chris Shore's team missed a chance for a wider margin by connecting on only seven of 19 at the free-throw line. Lamar gave away points at the line as well, hitting only six of 14 free throws.
The Lady Wildcats improved to 10-11 overall with the victory and will play at East Newton on Thursday night.
Cassville scorers: Emily Speakman, 16; Raeghan Blisard, 13; Kennadi Howard, 8; and Jaime Everett, 6.
Lamar scorers: Bethany Graves, 11; Brooke McDonald, 8; Taylor Jackson, 6; Ciara Shoff, 4; Emmie Robertson, 2; Chynna Moore, 1; and Ryan O'Sullivan, 1.