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Jackson stakes claim to title
Kylie Werner walked to the free-throw line for the front end of a one-and-one with seven seconds left and the score tied 40-40 between Jackson and Farmington in the HealthSouth Holiday Classic girls basketball tournament final Monday night at the Show Me Center.
Werner, who led Jackson with 12 points, was 0-for-4 from the line up until that point. With little hesitation, Werner swished both free throws to give the Indians a 42-40 lead which would end up being the final score.
Top-seeded Jackson improved to 11-0 and won its second straight HealthSouth Holiday Classic.
Werner said she walked to line feeling confident, despite her early misses.
"I did actually. I just told myself to put them in," she said.
Farmington looked like it would get one last chance for a tie, but Bobbie Jones stole the inbound pass and the Knightettes would not get another chance. Despite leading for much of the game, Jackson needed four free throws down the stretch to pull out the win.
"We're finding a way," Jackson coach Sam Sides said. "We get a few breaks and make free throws when we need to."
Aside from a thrilling finish, Monday's final rematch was more of a snoozefest as both teams were content to move the ball around and play half-court ball. Jackson led by as many as nine points in the second quarter, but Farmington was able to answer with strong play in the post.
"That was a slow motion-type ball game. We played timid," Sides said. "We played more not to lose than to win."
With the inside play of Natalie Hooss and Julie Schnurbusch and the outside shooting of Cassie Tiefenauer, Farmington slowly chipped away at Jackson's lead. Farmington got within two points late in the third quarter on a Tiefenauer 3-pointer, and a basket from Schnurbusch narrowed the gap to 36-35 early in the fourth quarter.
Hooss gave Farmington its first lead since it led 4-3 with a lay-in with about 3:30 to play. Loni Littlepage put Jackson back up 38-37, and after a Farmington free throw, Jones put the Indians ahead 40-38 with a pair of free throws. Randie Wooldridge tied the score for Farmington, and the Knightettes had the ball with 25 seconds left before a Werner steal led to a foul which sent her to the line.
"I hope this experience will help us get better down the road," Sides said.
Werner was the only Indian in double figures, with Kelly Loos and Jones adding nine points apiece.
"We don't have one outstanding player, we all win as a team," Werner said.
Natalie Hooss led second-seeded Farmington (7-3) with 12 points, and Schnurbusch added 11.
This was the third HealthSouth Classic title for the Indians in the tournament's nine-year existence. Jackson has now won three tournaments this season, including the West Plains Zizzer Classic and Farmington Tournament.
"I can't complain too much," Sides said of his team's start. "As a coach you always want to play well and see improvement. We're having flashes of that."
While Jackson is off to a hot start, Notre Dame (3-5) saw an early upset in the opening round of the tournament turn into consecutive tough losses. The sixth-seeded Bulldogs followed a 50-33 semifinal loss to Farmington with a 54-21 loss to No. 5 Massac County (Ill.) in the third-place game. Notre Dame scored nine points over the final three periods.
No. 3 Sparta (Ill.) defeated No. 4 Dexter 60-54 in the consolation final, and No. 7 Perryville beat No. 8 Central 56-43 in the seventh-place game. Krista Miesner led Perryville (4-5) with 19 points, and Amber Hacker had 18. Erica Schabbing led Central (0-9) with 16 points, Sonja Williams had 12 and Kristin Shirrell added 10.
Jackson 42, Farmington 40
FARM. (40) -- Natalie Hooss 12, Julie Schnurbusch 11, Cassie Tiefenauer 9, Randie Wooldridge 4, Kristen Hayes 2, Christina Johnson 2. FG 16, FT 3-7, F 13 (3-pointers: Tiefenauer 3. Fouled out: Hayes)
JACKSON (42) -- Kylie Werner 12, Bobbie Jones 9, Kelly Loos 9, Loni Littlepage 6, Amanda Peiffer 3, Lindsay Poole 3. FG 15, FT 6-13, F 6 (3-pointers: Loos 3. Fouled out: none)
Massac County (Ill.) 54, Notre Dame 21
NOTRE DAME (21) -- Merideth Medlin 4, Amanda Essner 4, Kristain Burger 2, Bailey Reutzel 3, Emily Blattel 1, Amanda Toole 2, Miranda Schlosser 1, Rachael Weidenbenner 4. FG 8, FT 5-13, F 12 (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none)
MASSAC COUNTY (54) -- Destiny Mitchell 16, Josha Rogers 18, Mallory Gentry 3, Jenni Grace 5, Jackie Cozart 4, Lindsay Clapp 1, Allison Powell 3, Branie George 2, Jackie Jacobs 2. FG 19, FT 11-19, F 16 (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none)
Perryville 56, Central 43
CENTRAL (43) -- Dani Gross 2, Courtney Schuessler 3, Erica Schabbing 16, Sonja Williams 12, Kristin Shirrell 10. FG 16, FT 10-18, F 19 (3-pointers: Shirrell 1. Fouled out: none)
PERRYVILLE (56) -- Meghan Roth 5, Krista Miesner 19, Amber Hacker 18, Bethany Steffens 5, Annette Weibrecht 6, Becky Bachmann 3. FG 18, FT 16-24, F 16 (3-pointers: Roth 1, Hacker 3. Fouled out: none)