After a first round loss to Osage in the Tri-County Conference tournament, the Southern Boone County girls’ basketball team won two straight to capture the consolation championship.
A showdown between the fifth and sixth seeded teams in the tournament, the Hallsville Indians met the Eagles Friday for the fifth-place game. Hallsville had lost to Boonville and then defeated Eldon to reach the consolation game.
Scoring was low early, but the Eagles used what had worked for them so far in the season to take an 11-7 lead late in the first quarter. Easy baskets under the hoop and a couple of drives past defenders had resulted in a quick accumulation of baskets. Ball movement kept defenders on their toes and the first eight minutes of ended with Southern Boone up 14-10.
Momentum carried over into the second quarter and SoBoCo went on a 16-0 scoring drive to start the second quarter. Two straight threes by Carrie Ponder and Lexi Ussrey put them up 24-10 with four minutes left before the half. Freshman point guard Jersee Wren has proven a confident driver for the Eagles in the first few games of the season, and she continued to show her ability to blow by defenders.
Stretching out the lead by forcing turnovers and scoring from all areas of the court, Southern Boone headed to the locker room up 41-18.
Hallsville attempted to claw its way back into the game into the game in the third quarter, scoring nine straight unanswered points in the first two and a half minutes of the second half.
Dani Post ended the run and kept the Indians at bay with a shot to add some life to the Eagles offense. They didn’t look back from there, as a Trinity Schupp made a strong drive to the basket that kept the lead at 20 points. After three, the score was 55-35.
Outscoring Hallsville 17-9 in the final quarter, the Eagles claimed the fifth-place title in a 72-46 win. Lexi Ussrey led scorers with 12 points, Wren had 10 and Post finished with six.
Offense hasn’t been hard to come by for SoBoCo so far this season, except for a 65-35 loss to Osage in the first game of the tournament.
The start of the game, however, wasn’t a good indicator of what was to come in the game. Osage was led by a strong post player who doubled as an effective wing player and controlled rebounding and the lane.
Both teams put on a full court press, but Southern Boone had a hard time getting turnovers.
Strong drives down the lane would be a key to drawing fouls on the post and keeping Osage’s star out of the game, and Schupp was able to do that early, but missed free throws plagued the Indians them early. After one quarter, Osage led 15-11.
In an attempt to throw something different at the Indians offense, Eagles head coach Damon Wren put his team in a 1-3-1 defense to start the second quarter. Osage was able to work it easily, however, and the Eagles switched back to a man defense in an attempt to stop the offense.
Ussrey hit a three with four minutes left in the half to bring the Indians lead to within three, but the defense of Osage dismantled SoBoCo for the rest of the half. At the half, Osage led 34-18.
Coming out of the half, Osage dropped the full court press defense but implemented a half court pressure that kept Eagles ball handlers beyond the arc and forced a number of turnovers. The game quickly fell out of reach and Southern Boone looked ahead to the loser’s side of the bracket. Ussery and Schupp led Eagles’ scorers with eight points each.
“Osage was a great team. We knew that going into it, but we got a little shell shocked,” Wren said. “We’ve got to learn to calm down a little bit and take care of the little things. We did that [against Versailles].”
The second game of the tournament on Wednesday provided an easier opponent, bringing the No. 8 seeded Versailles Tigers, who had scored only thirteen points in their first game against California.
A press implemented by Wren and the defense set up the offense early. Versailles guards were quickly overwhelmed and threw passes into the hands of waiting Eagles defenders. The two teams implemented a zone defense, more so on the Southern Boone’s side to contain a big post that could be a factor on the boards.
SoBoCo went to the locker room at half up 33-8, as Versailles got into foul trouble late in the half trying to keep the Eagles out of the lane. The lack of shooters for the Tigers and the ability to force turnovers kept Versailles essentially out of the game. The Eagles allowed just five points in the second half and won handily, 60-13.
“We were more reserved, took care of the ball. We only had seven turnovers tonight and we out rebounded them by 10. We had a heck of a night,” Wren said of the Versailles game.
After the tournament, the Eagles are 3-1. They’ll travel to Fatima for a non-conference game Thursday with tipoff at 5 p.m.