By Thad Requet
Pressure defense and forced turnovers led to easy baskets and paved the way for a 68-40 first round win for the South Shelby Lady Birds over Mark Twain in the Monroe City Tournament Monday night.
The Lady Birds jumped out to an early14-9 lead. Mark Twain cut it to two points with a 3-pointer by back-to-back baskets by Meredith O’Neal stretched the lead to 18-12 with 50 seconds to play in the opening quarter. The Lady Birds led 18-14 after one quarter.
They scored the first seven points of the second quarter as Mallory Wood scored, Katie Mitchell drained a 3-pointer and Wood then knocked down a pair of free throws. After Mark Twain answered, O’Neal scored making it 25-16 with 5:50 to play in the half.
The Lady Tigers were able to cut the lead to 31-25 with 2:04 to play in the half, but the Lady Birds took over, closing out the half with an 8-0 run as O’Neal and Callie Roetemeyer each scored four points. The Lady Birds held a 39-25 lead at the half.
Mark Twain tried to get back into the game early in the third quarter, scoring the first basket. Mitchell answered with a 3-pointer. Mark Twain drained a 3-pointer 40 seconds later, and Mitchell hit her second in a row 24 seconds after that, pushing the lead to 45-30 with 6:16 to play in the third quarter.
O’Neal and Wood each scored, stretching the lead to 49-30 with 5:21 to play in the third quarter. That was a part of a 13-2 run used by South Shelby to hold a 55-32 lead after three quarters.
Both teams traded baskets early in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Birds again were able to finish strong as they closed out the game with a 9-3 run to secure the win.
With the first round victory, the fourth seeded Lady Birds will take on the top seeded Monroe City Lady Panthers in semifinal action today (Wednesday) at 7 p.m.
There were no stats available for this game at press time.
By Thad Requet