The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

January 25, 2014

Cardinals find 3-point zone, romp

FRONTENAC, Kan. — They call it being in the zone.

The phenomena where seemingly every shot goes in typically may last for a quarter or maybe even a half.

For the Webb City Cardinals girls basketball team, it pretty much lasted an entire tournament.

Webb City cruised through three games of the Raider Kansas Army National Guard Invitational, defeating Kansas City Hogan Prep, Oklahoma City Classen and Blue Valley Southwest by an average of 21.6 points.

The Cardinals (13-3) clinched the tournament title by defeating Blue Valley Southwest 73-59 in the championship on Saturday at Frontenac High School.

Webb City shot 10-of-13 from 3-point range against the Timberwolves. A day earlier against Classen, Webb City made 14-of-22 treys during a 93-64 win.

“It feels good to step out there and knock down shots,” said Webb City senior point guard Mikaela Burgess, who led the Cardinals with 32 points and earned tournament MVP honors. “Making shots helped pull us through the whole game. Every time we’d make one, it would motivate us to play harder.”

Webb City senior forward Kaitlin Beason, who scored 21 points, was 5-for-6 from the 3-point line against Blue Valley Southwest. Burgess hit four 3-pointers, and sophomore guard Lexey Kneib made one.

“Kaitlin Beason stepped up huge for us today,” Burgess said. “Lexey Kneib is one of our most consistent shooters.”

The hot-shooting Cardinals jumped out to a 23-12 lead at the end of the first quarter and led 47-26 at halftime.

“I thought a lot of it had to do with our shot selection,” Webb City coach Brad Shorter said. “We’re having good ball movement, and we’re taking better shots. We have some pure shooters and when we move the ball well, great things are going to happen.”

Not only did the Cardinals shoot well from the outside, but they were nearly perfect from the free-throw line. Webb City, which had some struggles at the line earlier in the season, made 21-of-22 free throws in the championship game.

“Our focus is getting better,” Shorter said. “Last year, that was a bit of a concern. This year, we’re taking pride in taking advantage of our free baskets.”

Junior post Desirea Buerge added 11 points for Webb City.

Cooper Courtney led Blue Valley Southwest with 24 points.

Frontenac girls 46, OC Classen 37

The Frontenac Raiders outscored Oklahoma City Classen 22-10 in the second half to capture third place at their tournament.

Frontenac trailed 27-24 at halftime but held the Comets to four points in the third quarter to take a 35-31 lead.

Haley Wilson led Frontenac with 17 points, while Ryleigh McCartney added 13.

Sophomore Kennedy Williams led Classen with 18 points.

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