Slow start dooms Scott City girls basketball team

Sunday, March 13, 2011
Scott City's Katie Hogan shoots against Kennett defenders Alexandra Brown, left, and Audrey Wynne during the third quarter of Saturday's Class 3 quarterfinal in Poplar Bluff, Mo. (Fred Lynch)

Kennett upended Scott City 43-28 in the Class 3 state quarters

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- The Scott City girls basketball team fell one win short of making school history.

A dismal first half, keyed by Kennett's stifling defense, was the Rams' downfall.

"We were really nervous," senior guard Melanie Lacey said. "We didn't start out well."

Kennett led 29-7 at halftime and rolled to a 43-28 victory in Saturday's Class 3 state quarterfinal at Poplar Bluff High School.

Scott City players, from left, Macy Hall, Jessica Boswell, A.J. Spriggs, Katie Rhymer and Katie Hogan sit out the final moments of Saturday's Class 3 quarterfinal against Kennett in Poplar Bluff, Mo. The Rams were trying to earn the program's first trip to the final four. (Fred Lynch)

The Indians (29-2) ended the Rams' storybook season and continued their own, advancing to their first final four.

"It's awesome," Kennett first-year coach Spencer Hoffman said.

Scott City (23-7) was bidding for its inaugural final four berth but the first half wiped out those hopes.

"We just started out bad," junior forward Katie Hogan said. "Whenever you get down by 20 in the first half, it's hard to chip away at that."

Scott City first-year coach Ricky Keller didn't know why the Rams started the game like they did, although he emphasized that Kennett's play had plenty to do with it.

Scott City's Katie Rhymer is fouled while shooting by Kennett's Mackenzie Carr in the second quarter of the Class 3 quarterfinal Saturday, March 12, 2011 in Poplar Bluff, Mo. (Fred Lynch)

"The first quarter killed us," Keller said. "I'm not sure what the deal was. We dug ourselves a hole and we couldn't get out of it.

"They were a lot stronger than us."

Hogan, the tallest player on the court at 6 foot 2, hit 1 of 2 free throws at the outset to put Scott City ahead 1-0,

It was the Rams' only lead. Hogan, who averages 17 points, did not score again in the opening half.

"They double-teamed her the whole game," Keller said.

Scott City's Andrew Gray drives to the basket past Kennett's Mackenzie Carr in the second quarter of the Class 3 quarterfinal Saturday, March 12, 2011 in Poplar Bluff, Mo. (Fred Lynch)

Scott City trailed 6-5 midway through the first quarter but scored only two points the remainder of the half.

"That's the best half of half-court defense we've played all year," Hoffman said. "You absolutely couldn't ask for a better half defensively than what we had the first half."

The Indians ended the opening period with a 9-0 run to lead 15-5. They put up the first seven points of the second quarter to go up 22-5.

Kennett outscored Scott City 14-2 in the quarter.

Scott City not only struggled to find the basket over the opening two periods but also committed 10 turnovers, many of them leading to easy buckets for the Indians.

Scott City's Lindsey Ressel drives against Kennett's Veronica Amos during the first quarter of Saturday's Class 3 quarterfinal in Poplar Bluff, Mo.

"Their defense was a killer," Lacey said. "They were a well-run team."

Hoffman said the Rams deserve credit for battling hard in the second half, and Keller agreed, although Scott City never could made a serious dent in the huge deficit.

"I thought we lost some of that mental focus and they picked it up," said Hoffman about a second half that saw the Rams outscore Kennett 21-14. "You have to give Scott City credit for that."

Kennett scored the first basket of the third quarter to build the day's biggest advantage of 31-7.

The Rams answered with eight straight points to make it 31-15 and give their large group of fans something to get excited about.

Scott City's Stacey Heisserer hits the floor with Kennett's Mackenzie Carr during the third quarter Saturday.

"The girls showed a lot of heart not giving up," Keller said.

But Scott City never could get the deficit under 15 points.

"I felt like we kept playing hard. We never gave up," Lacey said.

Jerica Wheeler, a quick senior guard who created havoc on both ends of the court, led Kennett with 14 points. She had eight first-quarter points.

Audrey Wynne, a strong 6-0 junior forward, added 13 points for the Indians.

Scott City students celebrate a basket against Kennett during the third quarter Saturday in Poplar Bluff, Mo.

Hogan came alive with eight third-quarter points but was held scoreless in the final period. She and Lacey were the Rams' top scorers with nine points apiece.

Scott City had only six field goals the entire game but hit 16 of 24 free throws.

Despite the loss, Keller had nothing but praise for the Rams.

"We obviously wanted to go to the final four, but they had a great year," Keller said.

Scott City52129--28

SCOTT CITY (28) -- Stacey Heisserer 3, Michaela Cobb 1, Melanie Lacey 9, Katie Rhymer 4, Katie Hogan 9, Andrea Gray 2. FG 6, FT 16-24, F 18. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none)

KENNETT (43) -- Alexandra Brown 9, Jerica Wheeler 14, Anna Hilburn 5, Audrey Wynne 13, Veronica Amos 2. FG 16, FT 10-15, F 16. (3-pointers: Hilburn 1. Fouled out: Amos)

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