Purdy takes aim at reigning champs

Friday, February 27, 2015
Purdy freshman Layne Skiles looks for an opening to power up a shot during the district semifinal win over Southwest on Wednesday. Jared Lankford/sports@monett-times.com

Lady Eagles looking to get 2nd win over conference foe, 1st for Ernst in playoffs

As the last few seconds of the Class 2, District 12 semifinal match with Southwest ticket off the clock, Purdy Coach Eli Ernst took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.

His Lady Eagles pulled out a 67-51 win over the Lady Trojans and dominated the second half of a game that looked in doubt at halftime.

The two Ozark 7 Conference foes exchanged the lead 11 times and were tied on eight different occasion in the first half.

"At halftime, we made a couple of adjustment to our defense and the way we screened," said Ernst. "Our girls did a better job of controlling the boards in the second half and getting transition buckets."

The win propelled the Lady Eagles into the district title game against Pierce City.

Ernst is 1-4 overall against Pierce City and 0-2 in district tournament play. The lone win, a 47-39 decision, came on Jan. 16.

"Our girls know that we haven't won anything yet this season," Ernst said. "Our No. 1 seed in this tournament is just a reflection of the girls hard work during the year. I don't think our girls expect anything to be handed to them."

As for Purdy's game plan for tonight's championship game, it is simple.

"I know it sounds cliché, but we are focused on Purdy," Ernst said. "Purdy needs to take care of Purdy. If we take care of the ball and play our game, I like our chances.

"We are familiar with Pierce City and what they want to do. It will be a good game."

Tipoff in Pierce City is set for 6 p.m.

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