By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
Talk about crashing the proverbial party.
Take a bow, Blue Valley West and Harrison.
Also, so much for the highly anticipated Webb City-Nixa semifinal showdown in the Joplin Freeman/Lady Eagle Classic.
Blue Valley West of Overland Park (Kan.) stunned No. 1 seed Nixa 37-30 to open the annual event on Thursday in Robert Ellis Young Gymnasium at Missouri Southern State University.
Harrison (Ark.) then shocked fourth-seeded Webb City 48-47 on Cara Barrett’s steal of an inbound pass and layup with less than two seconds remaining.
Class 4 Webb City and Class 5 Nixa, heavyweights from the powerful Central Ozark Conference Large Division, will launch today’s tournament schedule in the consolation round.
Harrison cashed in a second chance, Goblin coach Doug Young said.
Webb City took a 47-45 lead on a trey by Mikaela Burgess with 1:29 left in the contest. Taylor Tate hit one of two free throws for Harrison at 1:12.
A turnover by Webb City at 1:06 and a missed layup by Harrison at 52.5 didn’t change the 47-46 score.
The Cardinals, after beating defensive pressure into their court, turned the ball over again at 26.0 to give the Goblins another opportunity.
A good shot rolled off at about seven seconds, however, and Webb City rebounded the ball.
Webb City needed to inbound the ball and kill 4.3 seconds. It didn’t happen as Barrett made the interception and layup.
“I thought that was our chance,” Young said of the miss from the wing. “It was looking bleak.
“Barrett had the presence of mind to go to the basket,” Young said. “That was a huge win for a team (without a senior in the starting lineup).”
Said Cardinal coach Brad Shorter: “First, Harrison, athletic and long, did some good things. Tate (5-foot-9 sophomore who tallied 27) had a great game.
“There were several things we didn’t do well such as handling the ball and rebounding.” Shorter said.
Burgess, a 5-6 junior, scored 17 for the Cardinals and 6-2 classmate Casey Heger added 14.
Nixa, which trailed Blue Valley West 18-11 at the half, rallied behind 5-9 junior Angie Allen to take a 24-22 lead in the third quarter. But a young Blue Valley West team didn’t fold against the Eagles’ pressure and it was 26-26 entering the fourth period.
The Jaguars, opening their season, outscored Nixa 11-4 in the final quarter to pull away.
Jordan Wright (5-8), its only senior, scored 11 points to pace the balanced winner. Adriana Jadlow (5-11 sophomore) and Emily Engelken (6-0 freshman) scored 8 and 7, respectively.
Allen finished with 15 points — all in the second half — to pace Jim Middleton’s Eagles.
Said Blue Valley West coach Frank Lapointe: “I told the girls we just need to settle down and take it one possession at a time (in the face of the Nixa comeback). We wanted to stay together. We’re so young.
“It’s a great win. It’s a great start to our season,” Lapointe said. “Tomorrow is another day.”