The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 19, 2012

Webb City girls handle adversity, tops Bulldogs

By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer

WEBB CITY, Mo. — Even though the Webb City lead was shrinking, Cardinals coach Brad Shorter made up his mind that he wasn’t going to call a timeout.

Instead, he wanted to see if his team could handle the adversity from Carl Junction’s 6-0 run to open the second half.

The Cardinals answered the challenge when freshman Lexey Kneib hit a 3-pointer, sparking a 12-0 run to secure a 67-48 win over the Bulldogs on Tuesday night at Webb City High School.

“I didn’t want to call a timeout and bail our kids out in that situation,” Shorter said. “I wanted them to stay tough and fight through it. And they did.”

Webb City led 37-25 at halftime, but Carl Junction opened the third quarter with two inside buckets from Maria Chism and another from Brenlee McPherson to cut the lead to 37-31.

That was when Kneib scored her first points of the game by hitting a 3-pointer to stop the Bulldog run and take a 40-31 lead.

“We came out and had like three or four turnovers there in a row, and that’s what we needed to get us going,” Webb City junior guard Mikaela Burgess said. “I told her after she made it that she got us going. She stepped it up.”

Burgess made five 3-pointers of her own, leading the Cardinals with 27 points.

“In my eyes, Mikaela is one of the best if not the best guard in this area,” Shorter said. “She’s really tough, and she wants to win so bad.”

Burgess opened strong with four 3-pointers and 16 points in the first half. However, she wasn’t expecting a strong start.

“When I was warming up, it was rough,” she said. “I told my coach, ‘My shot is off tonight.’ He said, ‘No, you’re just getting it out of your system early.’ I guess I just needed the game to start.”

Webb City was enjoying a nice inside-outside game as Burgess was hitting jump shots, and 6-foot sophomore Desirea Buerge was a force inside with 19 points.

The Bulldogs were unable to recover from Webb City’s run in the third quarter and trailed by as many 21 points.

Carl Junction was led by 16 points from McPherson and 13 from Chism, who scored 12 in the second half.

“Carl Junction is a quality team,” Shorter said. “They really are. They’re well coached, and they played hard. But our kids fought off the battle.”