The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 25, 2013

3-pointers key in district title games

By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer

— The 3-pointer was the star on the district championship stage Saturday night at Seneca High School.

The host Seneca Indians hit 10 treys  — accounting for 59 percent of their points — in a 51-47 overtime win over the Mount Vernon Mountaineers.

That was after the Ash Grove Pirates hit three crucial 3-pointers to open the fourth quarter in their 42-31 win over the East Newton Patriots in the girls finale.

Seneca, outsized against the Mountaineers, couldn’t get an inside game going and trailed by seven in the third quarter before unleashing seven straight treys that accounted for the Indians’ final 21 points of regulation.

“They came out in that zone and we thought they might. But we’ve got shooters and it’s only a matter of time before they get heated up,” Seneca coach Will King said after the game. “Those guys aren’t bashful. A couple of them are little guys, but they’re not bashful. They’re going to shoot it and they’re going to hit big shots.”

Bradley Jumper led the way, hitting four of his nine shots from behind the arc, including one with 2:30 remaining that sent the game into overtime.

“We weren’t really doing much inside. I think we knew we had to hit some shots outside,” Jumper said. “As people started hitting shots more and more, I started getting more confidence, as did everyone else.”

Kyler Ng and Seth Harris each hit three treys. Ng’s three all came in the final 9:01 of regulation.

“We’ve got several shooters who can shoot well,” Ng said. “And when one of us hits, it’s like all of us get going at the same time. And we’re tough to stop when all of us are hitting.”

Ash Grove wasn’t as trey-crazy in the night’s first game — the Pirates were 4-for-11 —but the timelines of the Pirates’ 3-pointers and the lack of East Newton treys was huge in the final outcome.

Ash Grove entered the fourth quarter with just one 3-pointer and led just 22-18. But the Pirates scored their first nine points of the final stanza from behind the arc to take control of the game.

Furthermore, the Pirates limited East Newton to just 1-for-14 shooting from 3-point land.

“I think the 3-ball is the equivalent of the dunk for the women’s game,” Ash Grove coach Brent Milleson said. “We were fortunate to hit a couple, and when you hit a couple in a big game like this, it really gives you a lift.

“And who knows, if a couple of East Newton’s 3-pointers go in, it could have been a completely different game.”