By Craig Vonder Haar
Missourian Sports Writer
After winning the Clayton Round-Robin Tournament to open its girls basketball season, St. Clair took its home court and split games with Waynesville and Owensville.
The Lady Bulldogs (4-1, 1-0) lost their home opener last Friday to Waynesville 47-40, but bounced back Monday to take their Four Rivers Conference opener over Owensville, 48-43.
St. Clair’s girls and boys both play Friday at Hermann. The varsity girls game starts at 6 p.m. followed by the varsity boys contest.
With the score tied 31-31 after three quarters, the Lady Bulldogs outscored the Dutchgirls 17-12 in the final eight minutes for the win.
“I’m happy with how our girls stuck with it and pushed through at the end,” said St. Clair Head Coach Jena Carroll. “We battled hard all night. It was a great team effort.”
Owensville (3-2, 0-1) held leads of 9-7 after one quarter and 20-19 at halftime.
“It was a really back-and-forth first half. We should have done a lot better job of finishing,” Carroll said. “I was happy with our defensive effort. We just struggled on making it count on the offensive end during the first half. We turned the ball over and fouled way too many times to expect to go into half only down by one.”
Sam Deason and Karissa Hoffman both scored 10 points for St. Clair. Deason added 10 rebounds.
Kayla Klenke finished the game with eight points. Katelyn Guehne and Allison Hinson both netted seven points. Hinson also had seven steals. Anna Reed scored four points. Alicia York had two points.
“Hoffman and Hinson got into foul trouble early and that forced us to make several adjustments,” Carroll said. “Guehne and Reed really stepped up coming in off the bench. Both girls played their best game. Guehne really hit the boards hard and Anna did a nice job helping to bring the ball up. Her court vision really helped.
“Klenke did a good job of driving the lane and getting to the free-throw line. Her eight points were a big contribution. Sam hit some key shots in the first half to help us keep it close. After sitting out most of the second quarter, Hinson came back after halftime and was outstanding on defense. Hoffman also picked up her efforts after getting back into the game, scoring eight of her 10 in the second half.”
Visiting Waynesville claimed its first win of the season last Friday by knocking off the Lady Bulldogs.
Trailing throughout the contest, including a pair of 12-point deficits during the second and third quarters, St. Clair rallied to tie the game 40-40 with 1:25 left to play, but could never take the lead.
Waynesville (1-4) ended the game with a 7-0 run.
“We dug ourselves a pretty deep hole in the first quarter. Other than giving up a couple of threes right off the top, our defense was solid,” Carroll said. “We took good shots, but could not get anything to fall. Our first loss was a good chance for us to look and refocus on areas that need a little more work.”
Hoffman led three Lady Bulldogs in double figures with 12 points. Hinson and Deason both scored 11 points.
Guehne, Klenke and Reed each added two points.
Trailing 14-4 after one quarter, the Lady Bulldogs pulled to within five points on two different occasions in the second quarter.
The Lady Tigers still were able to take a 29-19 advantage into halftime.
St. Clair began to chip away in the third quarter, getting as close as 33-29 with 1:53 left on the clock.
Waynesville took a 37-31 lead into the final eight minutes.
Trailing 40-33 with 3:20 remaining in the game, the Lady Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run over the next two minutes to tie the game.
A pair of baskets by Deason and one by Hoffman helped St. Clair pull even.
With the game tied, Waynesville’s Hannah Finger had a three-point play with 50 seconds left. Dorothy Adams hit two free throws with 23 seconds remaining to seal the win.
“The girls did a nice job of fighting back and working their way back into the game,” Carroll said. “Hoffman and Deason both shot really well after bouncing back from our first-quarter slump.”