Smith-Cotton did not have much of an answer for St. Clair’s half-court defense during the opening round of the Rolla Girls Basketball Tournament last Thursday.
The fourth-seeded Lady Bulldogs held the lead all the way in a 43-28 victory over the fifth-seeded Lady Tigers.
St. Clair (6-4) mixed up its defensive looks during the game, but had the most success when playing zone.
“I was happy with our defense in the first and fourth quarters. We held them to two points in the first quarter and two points in the fourth quarter,” said St. Clair Head Coach Jena Carroll. “We made a few adjustments after halftime that really helped us extend our lead.”
Allison Hinson had a solid game on both ends of the floor for the Lady Bulldogs, finishing the game with 15 points. She was 3-3 from three-point range.
“Allison shot the ball really well,” Carroll said. “She made some key shots when we needed them.”
Karissa Hoffman collected 11 points and eight rebounds.
“Karissa stepped up big in the fourth quarter,” Carroll said.
Sam Deason added eight.
“Sam did a great job of stepping up early,” Carroll said. “She had most of our first-quarter points to help us gain a nine-point lead after the first quarter.”
Kayla Klenke scored four points.
“Kayla played good, solid defense when we needed to shut one of their players down,” Carroll said.
Alicia York finished the game with three points. Katelyn Guehne scored two points.
St. Clair jumped to an 11-2 lead following the first quarter and never looked back.
Smith-Cotton struggled to even get the ball to the basket during the first quarter, much less convert, against the Lady Bulldogs’ zone defense.
The Lady Tigers came to life a bit during the second quarter, cutting St. Clair’s lead to 15-11 with 4:33 remaining on the clock.
But a basket by Deason and a three-pointer by Hinson helped the Lady Bulldogs increase their advantage to 23-14 at halftime.
Smith-Cotton never seriously threatened to make a run during the second half.
Another three-pointer by Hinson and baskets by Deason, York and Klenke helped the Lady Bulldogs to a 35-26 lead after three quarters.
The Lady Tigers pulled to within nine points, 37-28, with 3:15 remaining in the fourth quarter, but got no closer.
Baskets by Deason and Hoffman in the final three minutes helped St. Clair secure the victory.
Defense and rebounding played big roles for the Lady Bulldogs, who did not allow many second-chance opportunities.
“A quick start and good shooting helped us pull ahead,” Carroll said. “They came back really well, but our early lead held up.”