The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

High School Sports

February 16, 2013

Mount Vernon girls capture Big 8 title

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — The presence of the 1992 Big 8 co-championship team may have warmed up the crowd, but it could do little to thaw Carl Junction’s cold second-half shooting.

Mount Vernon took advantage of the cold spell to defeat the Lady Bulldogs 53-44 on Friday night to wrestle away the conference girls basketball title.

The 1992 team was introduced at halftime and cheered the Lady Bulldogs in the 2012-13 team’s ill-fated attempt to supercede their predecessors’ accomplishment.

That was the last time the Carl Junction girls had a co-championship, Lady Bulldogs coach Tiffany Dirks said.

“They haven’t had an outright championship, so tonight’s goal was to win and get that first outright championship, but it didn’t go our way. Our shots just wouldn’t fall down the stretch. It was a long night.”

Point guard Mackenzie Farmer scored both inside and outide to lead a three-pronged scoring attack for the Moutaineers with 16 points. Audrey LaSalle added 12 points and Laynie Dake 10 for the Mountaineers (16-9, 7-0 in the conference).

“Mackenzie kind of set the tone for our offense,” Mount Vernon coach Jamie LaSalle said.

Junior Bryce Boyd had a game-high 17 points for Carl Junction (15-10, 6-1), and sophomore Brenlee McPherson added 10.

Dake, a freshman, helped put the game out of reach after being fed for two fast-break layups and scoring another inside shot in the fourth quarter.

“Laynie Dake has just been stepping up the last month or so,” the Mountaineers coach said. “She has probably improved more than any player on our team, both offensively and defensively. She made some big, key baskets when we extended our lead. We have just come to expect that of her.”

But Dirks said Audrey LaSalle’s presence on the court really put the Bulldogs back on their heels. LaSalle had suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament two weeks earlier at Monett, and Carl Junction had not prepared for her.

“It kind of messed up our synch a little bit,” Dirks said.

But the senior and daughter of the Mount Vernon coach told her father last week that she wanted to complete her senior season before having any surgery.

“She was supposed to get surgery (Thursday), but she said said she feel like giving it a go. So we got her a brace, but the brace didn’t come in until Tuesday,” the elder LaSalle said. “She played a pretty good game with a torn ACL and having only two practices in the last two weeks.”

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