Purdy rolls into district semifinal with confidence

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Purdy's Morgan Grissom gathers herself before being fouled on a shot attempt during district playoff action on Monday at Purdy High School. Purdy plays Pierce City in the semifinals tonight (Wednesday). Jared Lankford/sports@cassville-democrat.com

Lady Eagles focused on slowing Pierce City's big 3

Purdy girls basketball Head Coach Eli Ernst talked to his team about the importance of the number three after the Lady Eagles' 54-26 opening-round district win over Wheaton.

Ernst pointed out that it took three wins that week before to earn the conference title, and it will take three wins this week to secure a district crown.

"I told the girls that we got one [win]," he said. "We still have two tough teams left in this tourney that we'll have to beat to get the [district title]. I think being at home for this tournament is going to be a huge advantage for us."

Purdy, winners in nine of its last 10 games is playing as well as any team in the area. The Lady Eagles' secret has been good defense and scoring parity.

Against Wheaton, Purdy was led in scoring by Jayse Henderson with 14 points. Then came a logjam of scorers with Courtney White recording 9, and AshtonYoung and Desirie Ennes each chipping in 8. Sami House added 6 and Rion Boyd scored 5 points.

"It helps with that type of balanced scoring," Ernst said. "It makes it difficult for other teams to key on just one player."

As Purdy gears up for tonight's (Wednesday's) semifinal, Ernst reminded his young squad about Pierce City's big three of Christine Younker, Bailee Hayward and Mattie Brottlund, and the fact the Lady Eagles fell 79-54 to Pierce City earlier this season.

"Younker and Hayward are big and athletic," Ernst said. "You watch the whole team warm up and you can see that. Younker can control the paint, and Hayward is so strong with the ball. She can take anyone to the hoop. All Brottund did against us was go 4-for-4 from behind the 3-point line. We'll have our hands full."

Ernst believes that the first three to four minutes will be critical to his team's success.

"During our win streak, we have been getting off to quick starts," Ernst said. "We can't afford to play catchup with Pierce City. We can't let their size control the paint. We have to play big and strong."

Should Purdy prevail against Pierce City, and in the championship on Friday, Ernst could add that it will take three more wins to reach the state title game. Tip off is set for 7:30 p.m.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: