Purdy hoopsters putting the pieces together

Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Purdy’s Emma Harkey drives to the basket during varsity action on Friday. Jared Lankford/sports@cassville-democrat.com

Late surge lifts Lady Eagles past Cassville

The prospects of a victory looked bleak for the Purdy girls basketball team (2-9) with one minute remaining in the third period against Cassville.

Trailing 28-20, Purdy erupted with 8 points to tie the game at the end of the period and scored the first 9 points of the fourth quarter to complete a 17-0 run and pull away for a 40-34 victory.

“Our team has been working hard on shooting during this break,” said Ashlee Luko, Purdy coach. “I think that helps, and Emma [Harkey] stepped up in her moment and hit a couple of big 3-pointers. I was proud of the way we responded.”

The season has been full of growing pains for the Lady Eagles squad.

The 40 points equaled the largest offensive output for Purdy this season.

The Lady Eagles trailed for much of the first half, but never by more than 4 points. In the third quarter, they twice fell behind by 8 and appeared headed for another setback.

“I think this win can be pretty big for us coming into the new year,” Luko said. “Now, we understand that we can make comebacks and when we get down by 8, we are still in the game. This was big for our confidence.”

In the final minute of the third, Harkey hit back-to-back 3-pointers, and pair of free throws by Kinsley Mattingly sent the game into the final stanza tied 28-28.

Harkey’s third triple of the half, followed by a quick bucket by Annabell Bowman, elevated the lead to 33-28 two minutes into the fourth quarter.

Cassville did not score until the 2:45 mark in the fourth, but could not pull any closer than 37-31.

Purdy hopes to build off the winning momentum, but knows that it has a tough road ahead in conference play.

“Our main focus is turnovers and free throw percentage,” Luko said. “We want to get that percentage a little higher and our Achilles heel has been turnovers. I think it’s understanding when we need to go fast and being under control. Like [against Cassville], we were able to come back under control when we got sped up, and that showed in the fourth quarter.”

Scoring for Purdy: Annabelle Bowman, 15; Emma Harkey 15; Mattingly Kinsley, 4; Breanna Perkins, 2; McKenzie Renkoski, 2; and Bayleigh Robbins, 2

Scoring for Cassville: Riley Morris, 10; Kyren Postlewait, 10; Madry McCrackin, 7; Lilly Harrison, 4; Madi Bowyer, 3

Purdy hosts Pierce City on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.

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