Seniors make memories at all-star game
Purdy's Henderson gets one last go on the court
NEOSHO -- For 16 of the area's best girls basketball players, Saturday night served as a chance to grace the basketball court one more time in their prep careers.
For Purdy's Jayse Henderson, and Pierce City's Bailee Hayward and Amber Wagner, the event was bittersweet, as they were surround by family and friends.
"It was great to put on a uniform and play another game," Henderson said. "Win or lose, it didn't matter. I have always liked looking in the stands and knowing that my family was there to support me. Tonight wasn't any different."
Saturday marked the 36th installment of the Lions All-Star Twin Classic, which was played in Neosho.
The Purple All-Star team, which contained the local trio, fell 44-43 to the Gold All-Star squad, on a last second free throw.
However, winning was not the main concern for either team.
"I told the girls I would try to get them as many minutes as possible," said Eli Ernst, Purdy head coach and leader of the Purple squad. "At halftime, I added that if we got close we could make a run and try to win the game if they want to."
Gold jumped out to a 10-2 lead early in the game and stretched it to 25-15 before Hayward sank two 3-pointers in the final eight seconds of the first half to trim the deficit to 25-21.
Purple trimmed the gap to 31-30 to open the second half, but Gold answered with an 8-1 run to extend its lead to 39-31.
Purple responded with a run of its own, this one a 10-1 clip capped by Neosho alumna Chelsey Henry's free throws to put the team ahead 43-42 with 19 seconds remaining.
Desirea Buerge, of Webb City, drained two free throws with 1.3 seconds left to seal the win for the Gold team.
Hayward finished with 11 points, Wagner recorded 4 and Henderson chipped in 2 points.