Lady Eagles prepared to go to college

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Purdy's Sami House goes in for a layup for the Lady Eagles this season. Robyn Poyner Special to the Cassville Democrat

Purdy red hot after tournament championship on Saturday

Purdy has been busy in recent games making its case to be viewed as the hottest girls basketball team in southwest Missouri.

The black and gold have ripped off four consecutive wins, claiming the Galena Lady Bears Tournament championship and receiving an invitation to play in the prestigious Pink and White tournament next year at Springfield.

While the good times are rolling, Coach Eli Ernst is not caught up in the moment. He knows his Lady Eagles have a huge week ahead of them.

"This week, we play East Newton, Thomas Jefferson and Walnut Grove," he said. "We are playing well, but you are only as good as your last game."

On Saturday, the Lady Eagles travel to Drury University in Springfield to face Walnut Grove.

"Our fans are excited," said Ernst. "Walnut Grove is a state-ranked team and it will be a big test for us."

Outside of playing basketball, both schools also share a unique bond, as both have former players on the Drury girls squad, including Addy Roller and Shelby White for Purdy, and Lexi Harman and Heather Harman for Walnut Grove. Both teams will get to watch the Drury women play immediately following the high school game.

Last Saturday, Purdy capped a three-game romp through the Galena Lady Bears Tournament with a 45-33 win over Cassville to claim the championship.

The Lady Eagles opened bracketed play with a 49-15 win over Wheaton, and then they dispatched Greenwood, 74-46, in the semifinal.

"We were a complete team over those three days," Ernst said. "We shot it well, played defense and made plays."

The coach said his starters were great, but the bench players made the difference.

"Every night our starting five give us a great chance to win," he said. "But Megan Thomas, Cailyn Spears and Zoe Brown have made a push for more minutes. It is a good problem to have trying to find time to get time on the floor."

Ernst said that his bench players have done a great job of extending the intensity on the floor so that there is no let down. Practices have been more intense as everyone is pushing each other to become better.

"I could spend hours talking about this team and how they prepare and work," Ernst said. "I don't think we've played our best ball yet, which tells me we have a very high ceiling."

Saturday's game with Walnut Grove tips off at 11 a.m.

The school district has been allotted 50 chair-back seats for $5 each.

Theses specially priced tickets can be purchased only at the Purdy Elementary Office and are on a first come, first served basis.

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