By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer
NEOSHO, Mo. —
Webb City captured the championship of the Neosho Holiday Classic by defeating previously unbeaten Bentonville 62-56 Saturday night at Neosho High School.
Pierce City won the Black Division championship by defeating Carthage 61-58.
Junior guard Mikaela Burgess led Webb City with 17 points and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Desirea Buerge and Kaitlin Beason each had 15 points for the Cardinals. Taylor Lee led Bentonville with 12 points.
“The girls are starting to understand to play within themselves,” said Webb City head coach Brad Shorter. “When they play within themselves, good things happen.”
Webb City led 46-35 going into the fourth quarter, then survived five 3-pointers by Bentonville as the Tigers pulled to within 56-54 with 34 seconds left.
Burgess sank all four of her free throws and Beason added two more in the last 33 seconds.
Pierce City was led by Krishna Merriman, who scored 21 points and was named to the all-tournament team.
The Eagles jumped out to a 19-9 lead, but Carthage rallied and led 29-28 at halftime.
Trailing 56-55 with 36 seconds left, Pierce City passed the ball inside to Merriman, whose pass to Emily Ashley led to a 3-pointer and a 58-56 Pierce City lead.
“It was just, hey, she’s open,” said Merriman. “I wasn’t. I was just glad it went in.”
Chloe Shepherd led Carthage with 22 points, including 12 of 16 free throws. Vanessa Pawlak had 21 points.
Pierce City added a basket at the final buzzer when Bailee Hayward stole an inbounds pass and scored.
“When we would pinch down on the post, they would kick it out and hit the 3,” said Carthage head coach Jim Moore. “Hat’s off to them. They played well in a big-time ballgame.”