Pierce City runs past Purdy for district title

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Wide open Photo courtesy of Freeze Frame Photography Purdy sophomore Billie House put up a short jumper against McAuley in the district quarterfinal on Feb. 18. House finished the game with 11 points.

The Pierce City Lady Eagles proved to be too much for the youth of Purdy, earning a 61-39 Class 2, District 12 title victory on Feb. 23.

Pierce City (22-7) claimed its first district crown since 2008 and advances to face Crane in the sectional round tonight (Wednesday,) Feb. 27.

Second-seed Purdy (15-14), earned victories over McAuley and Jasper to advance to their fifth straight district title game.

Getting to the rim Democrat Photo by Jon Whitlock Purdy freshman Desirie Ennes scores 2 points against Pierce City on Saturday.

Top-seeded Pierce City downed Wheaton and Greenfield to qualify for the championship tilt.

It was the Lady Eagles of Purdy who drew first blood, controlling the tempo to start the game and take a 5-1 lead with 3:15 left in the first quarter, which prompted Pierce City coach Rob Guerin to call a timeout to settle his girls down.

"We got off to an ideal start," said Purdy coach Eli Ernst. "We have to learn to finish games."

After the timeout, the green and white responded by getting the ball to their All-Conference post player Krishna Merriman, who promptly scored, drew a foul and completed the old-fashioned 3-point play.

Pierce City finished the first period with a 10-4 run and led 11-9 at the first break.

Purdy used a Desirie Ennes layup to pull within 12-11 at the 5:34 mark of the second period, but a basket by Christine Younker, a 3-pointer by Ashley and a short jumper by Merriman propelled Pierce City to a 19-11 lead.

Purdy, whose lineup featured two sophomores and two freshmen, clawed back with buckets from Katie Hughes, Billie House and Ennes to cut the deficit to 22-17 with 31 seconds left in the first half.

However, a Merriman basket in the final seconds sent Pierce City into halftime with a 24-17 lead.

Purdy was without the services of senior Mattie White due to an injury.

White's absence was felt in the second half as Pierce City established control of the boards and paint on both ends of the floor.

Pierce City's Becca Hatfield and Bailey Hayward used transition baskets to ignite a 9-4 push to start the third period.

Ashley and Shania Hogan's baskets capped another third quarter surge to give Pierce City a 43-25 lead with 1:49 left in the frame.

The green and white Lady Eagles led 47-29 at the final break.

With Ennes and Hughes battling foul trouble, Purdy struggled for answers and couldn't stop any of the top-seed's challenges inside the paint.

Ashley's 3-pointer at the 4:05 mark of the final period gave Pierce City its largest lead of the game at 57-35 as Purdy struggled to gain traction.

Scoring for Purdy: House, 10 points; Ennes and Courtney White, 8 each; Hughes, 6; Jayse Henderson, 5; and Andrea Humphrey, 2.

Scoring for Pierce City: Merriman, 18 points; Younker, 13; Ashley, 11; Hayward, 8; Hatfield, 5; Mattie Brottlund, 4; and Shania Hogan, 2.

Semifinal

ThePurdy Lady Eagles raced out to a 20-4 lead over fourth-seeded Jasper then held on for a 44-39 victory to advance in the district semifinal.

Hughes, House and Ennes combined to score the game's first 11 points for Purdy before Elizabeth Maneval's layup put Jasper on the board at the 3:21 mark of the first period.

Purdy carried the momentum into the second quarter and took a 20-point lead (29-9) with 1:17 remaining in the half. A 5-0 run by Jasper closed the gap to 29-14 at halftime.

Jasper spent the third period pecking away at the Purdy advantage and finally cut the deficit to 9-points (35-26) with 30 seconds left in the quarter. Henderson's buzzer-beating jump shot re-established an 11-point (37-26) advantage for Purdy.

Jasper gathered steam in the fourth period, and Adi Ethceson's layup with 3:31 left in the game cut the Purdy lead to 40-34. However, the black and yellow responded with back-to-back buckets by House to take a 44-34 lead.

Jasper couldn't recover from the deficit.

Scoring for Jasper: Maneval, 15 points; Lexie Royster, 9; Etcheson, 7; and Brianna Cawyer, Morgan Winchester, Karrington Garvin and Haley Bennett, 2 each.

Scoring for Purdy: House, 16 points; Ennes, 10; Katie Hughes, 8; Henderson, 6; and Kat Hughes and Skylar Lakey, 2 apiece.

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