By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer
WEBB CITY, Mo. —
Desirea Buerge played with a wrap over her sore left wrist during Monday night’s Central Ozark Conference game against Carthage.
Unfortunately for Carthage, she’s right-handed.
“Working together helps us get open shots,” said Buerge, a 6-foot sophomore who scored a career-high 29 points as Webb City pulled away in the second half and defeated the Tigers 67-52.
After Carthage went on a 9-2 run to come within 39-36 midway through the third quarter, Webb City (20-4) went on a 9-2 run of its own over the next 1 minute, 22 seconds.
“The thing is, Carthage is capable of going on runs,” said Webb City head coach Brad Shorter. “We had to stop their runs and go on some runs of our own. It doesn’t matter who it is. You just have to find the hot hand and keep feeding it to them.”
Buerge began the flurry with one of her four 3-pointers. She then stole the ball and scored on a layup, and after two free throws by Mikaela Burgess, Buerge scored inside as the Cardinals built a 48-37 lead with 1:25 left in the third quarter.
Carthage came no closer than nine points after that.
“I worked on my 3s a lot yesterday,” Buerge said. “We played really well as a team. It’s about working together as a team and getting open shots.”
Chloe Shepherd led Carthage (14-9) with 17 points, including 5-for-6 at the free-throw line. Her steal and layup capped an 8-0 run in the last 1:30 of the first half that cut Webb City’s lead to 30-25 at halftime.
“Carthage seems to make their runs at the end of quarters,” said Burgess, a 5-7 junior who scored 11 of her 19 points in the second half. “Desirea had a big night and we stepped it up and got the job done.”
Trailing 37-27 in the third quarter, Carthage went on a 9-2 run that featured a steal and layup by Vanessa Pawlak, a three-point play by Emily Goeken, and another steal and layup by Pawlak as the Tigers came within 39-36. Webb City’s Megan Heman picked up her fourth foul on Goeken’s drive to the basket with 4:40 left in the quarter.
“Carthage always gives us a great game,” Burgess said. “This is when you want to be playing really well, and I think we are. We’re starting to click.”
Carthage scored the first four points of the second quarter and grabbed its only lead at 15-14 on two free throws by Shepherd and a layup by Maya Williams, assisted by Shepherd.
Webb City then scored 11 points in a row — nine by Buerge — over the next 3 1/2 minutes and took a 25-15 lead.
“She had a great shooting night,” said Carthage head coach Jim Moore. “When she took a shot, she knocked it down. For the most part, we guarded pretty well.
“We battled all night. I was proud of our girls’ effort. We’re understanding what it takes to be a championship team,” he said. “I saw a lot of good things tonight.”