By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
CARTHAGE, Mo. —
A year ago, the Webb City girls held a substantial lead before falling to Carthage in the district championship.
The Cardinals prevented history from repeating itself.
Webb City held off a Carthage rally to beat the Tigers 49-42 for the Class 4 District 12 championship on Saturday at Carthage High School. The Cardinals advance to sectionals and West Plains at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Ozark.
“It means everything,” Webb City junior forward Kaitlin Beason said. “Last year, we got upset. We were up by more than 10 last year, and it really hurt us. We knew we’d get it back this year.”
Beason, who had a game-high 16 points, made four 3-pointers in the first half to help the Cardinals take a 29-14 lead.
“She’s kind of our X-factor, because she’s so versatile,” Webb City coach Brad Shorter said. “She’s a matchup nightmare for teams, because she can shoot it so well, passes well, rebounds and can do so many things. I really wish she made all-district because what a kid and what a game. But what’s more important is that we won this game, and Kaitlin had a lot to do with that.”
Carthage did respond, however. After Webb City’s Casey Heger hit a 3-pointer to take the 29-14 lead with 2:20 left in the first half, the Tigers outscored the Cardinals 18-6 to cut the lead to 35-32 with 6:06 left in the game. Webb City didn’t make a field goal for almost eight minutes during that stretch.
“I can’t say enough about how proud I am of them for their effort in battling back,” Carthage coach Jim Moore said. “We knewthat if we continued to stick together and play tough defense, we’d get some opportunities.”
But Carthage couldn’t come any closer than three points. The Tigers turned the ball over on their next four possessions to help Webb City pull ahead 38-32 with 4:20 left.
Beason later hit her fifth 3-pointer of the game to give Webb City a 45-35 lead with 2:19 remaining.
“They’ve got a lot of weapons,” Moore said. “Give them a lot of credit. We’d make a run, and they’d hit a big shot.”
Vanessa Pawlak led Carthage with 13 points, and Maya Williams scored 10. Casey Heger added 10 for Webb City.
Shorter said he was pleased with how his team responded to Carthage’s rally.
“We showed a lot of toughness late,” Shorter said. “I didn’t think we played our best ball game today. I didn’t feel like we were as focused as needed to be. But we were late, and that’s what counted.”