The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

February 15, 2014

Webb City girls ride rollercoaster to victory

WEBB CITY, Mo. — Talk about a roller-coaster ride.

Webb City’s girls basketball team edged Branson 43-40 Friday night in a game that had many layers.

The Cardinals trailed in the first quarter, used their defense to hold Branson scoreless in the second quarter and then almost let a 16-point second-half lead slip away.

“Branson is a good ball team, but we didn’t shoot well tonight,” Webb City coach Brad Shorter said. “I thought our defense was pretty good, but unfortunately our offense stunk. It took a quarter and a half before we started working the basketball around.”

Webb City (17-4, 3-1 COC Large Division) led 31-15 with 3:17 left in the third quarter, but Branson went on an 11-0 run in the game’s final minutes to make it 41-40 with 28 seconds left. Webb City didn’t make a field goal for the game’s final five minutes, but senior point guard Mikaela Burgess made a pair of free throws to make it 43-40 with 23 seconds remaining.

“Coach Shorter told us that we need to move the ball more,” said Webb City sophomore Lexey Kneib, who scored eight points. “If we listen to him, we’ll go far.”

Both teams suffered scoring droughts for large stretches.

The Cardinals didn’t make a field goal for the first 5 minutes, 40 seconds of the game and trailed 12-8 at the end of the first quarter.

Then Webb City’s defense went to work. After Branson’s Ashley Forrest made a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left in the first quarter, the Pirates didn’t score again until Jessica Tankersley made a free throw with 6:43 left in the third quarter.

Branson went without a field goal for almost 14 minutes as freshman Amanda Kearney scored on a drive with 2:23 left in the third.

“It’s a good win,” Shorter said. “It was a physical game. The defense played well. Offensively, I think there were times when we were trying to get fouled rather than trying to make baskets.”

Burgess led the Cardinals with 16 points. Junior post Desirea Buerge scored 14, including eight in the second quarter when Webb City built its lead.

Forrest led Branson with 16 points, while Sydney Shepherd added 10.

Webb City will be at Carthage on Monday.

Branson boys 58, Webb City 46

Webb City’s record fell to 6-14 as the Cardinals suffered another double-digit loss.

Yet Webb City coach Landon Cornish said he couldn’t be more proud of his team’s effort.

The Cardinals entered the fourth quarter trailing 45-31, but went on a 14-5 run to make it a 50-45 game with 3:06 remaining.

“Our kids played extremely hard,” Cornish said. “I’m as proud of tonight’s effort as much as any game since I’ve coached here. They’re coachable, and they fight. It took a lot of energy for them to fight back and make it a five-point game.”

A three-point play by Zach Hallacy helped Webb City pull within 48-42 with 3:37 left. Shortly after, Channing Mickey converted a three-point player after being fouled on a reverse layup to make it 50-45.

But that was as close as the Cardinals could get. The Pirates made enough free throws and didn’t allow another Webb City field goal down the stretch.

DaQuan Ervin led Branson with 23 points. Mickey led Webb City with 12.

Webb City will be at Carthage on Tuesday.

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