Reeds Spring girls defeat Cassville in district opener

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Cassville Lady Wildcats watched their season come to a close on Saturday, Feb. 23 as Reeds Spring's smothering defense caused 21 Cassville turnovers, and the Lady Wolves used that advantage to claim a 56-42 victory in the Class 3, District 11 Tournament at Rogersville.

Emily Speakman scored a game-high 28 points, ending her outstanding career as a Lady Wildcat.

But this was a frustrating loss for Cassville, after defeating Reeds Spring, 44-31 earlier in the season.

Cassville entered the game with only eight players in uniform. The loss of Raeghan Blisard depleted an already thin bench for Chris Shore.

The Lady Wildcats started strong and held a 10-7 lead at the first break. Speakman rolled in four baskets, and Britani Long scored in the final seconds to give Cassville a slim advantage.

The Lady Wildcats opened in their trademark amoeba defense, and the one-three-one zone limited Lady Wolves' Megan Rasmussen to a single field goal in the quarter.

Reeds Spring turned rabid in the second period. The Lady Wolves switched from their man-to-man defense to a zone press that caused nine Cassville turnovers by halftime.

Joey Ash and Danielle Curnes sparked a 10-1 run to give Reeds Spring a 17-11 second quarter lead.A pair of Kelsey Baker buckets brought Cassville within 17-15, but the Lady Wolves finished the half with an 11-2 flourish. Rasmussen's buzzer beater gave Reeds Spring a 28-17 lead at intermission.

The Lady Wildcats clawed back into contention in a low scoring third quarter. Speakman added 7 points to the 10 she scored in the first half, and Cassville switched to a box-and-one defense to help control Rasmussen and limit Reeds Spring's rebounding advantage.

Speakman earned an old-fashioned 3-point play with 5:00 on the clock, cutting the lead to 28-22. But Curnes answered with a long trey to boost the Lady Wolves back to a 9-point advantage. Speakman scored the final points of the quarter with an offensive board to pull Cassville within 7, and Reeds Spring held a 35-28 lead at the final break.

Speakman scored twice as the final period began, and Cassville trailed by only 37-32. But the Lady Wildcats could not handle the press or the pressure and committed seven turnovers in the final five and a half minutes of play. The game and the season slipped away as the Lady Wolves built a double-digit lead that peaked at 17.

Speakman's 3-point play at the 1:36 mark cut the lead to 54-41, but Cassville would come no closer. Reeds Spring earned the right to play top-seeded Republic with the 56-42 victory.

Reeds Spring collected 28 total rebounds, including 11 offensive boards. Cassville's most-telling number was the 21 damaging turnovers.

Speakman posted a double-double in her final game in a Cassville uniform, adding 11 rebounds to her 28 points. Kelsey Baker, also a Cassville senior, scored 7 points.

Scoring for Cassville: Speakman, 28 points; Baker, 7; Long, 6; and Katelyn Pitts, 1.

Scoring for Reeds Spring: Rasmussen and Autumn Flaugh, 14 points apiece; Curnes and Ash, 12 each; and Sydney Mason and Cheyenne Randle, 2 each.

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