Flirting with the possibility of an upset in the opening round of the CCAA Tournament, the top-seeded Bunceton Lady Dragons basketball team did what all 11-1 teams do in the second half last night against fourth-seeded Prairie Home.
Although Bunceton held a comfortable lead at the half against Prairie Home up by 10, the first quarter was deadlock at 11-all.
Needless to say, the Lady Dragons found their rhythm offensively in the second half while pulling away against the Lady Panthers for a 60-38 victory.
In other games last night in the tournament, No. 2 Otterville girls improved to 11-5 on the season by beating No. 6 Malta Bend 65-7 while the No. 2 Jamestown boys defeated sixth-seeded Malta Bend by a score of 86-38.
Tournament action will continue tonight, with the Otterville boys playing Higbee at 5, followed by the Prairie Home girls versus Higbee at 6:30 and Jamestown boys versus Bunceton at 8.
While the win raised Bunceton's record to 12-1 overall, head coach Mike Arnold said his girls played a better second half than the first. "Prairie Home came out with a lot more intensity than we did the first half," Arnold stated. "Defensively, it was one of the poorest games we have played all year. However, I thought Maddy Berwanger and Rachel Emde did a nice job of carrying us in the second half."
Emde and Berwanger were definitely big for the Lady Dragons in the second half. While finishing the game with a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds, Emde scorched the nets for 16 points in the second half against Prairie Home. As for Berwanger, the junior guard lit it up from the outside with nine of her 11 points coming from the three-point arc.
Of course the first quarter went back and forth as the Lady Panthers battled the tournament's top seed to a draw at 11-all.
Unfortunately for Prairie Home, they couldn't keep up offensively as Bunceton came out in the second quarter and reeled off five straight points on a three-point play by sophomore Julia Kahle and a two from Sam Brandes to make it 16-11 with 6:54 left in the half.
The Lady Dragons would also outscore Prairie Home 17-7 in the second to lead at the break by a score of 28-18.
While closing out the second quarter with six straight points, Bunceton also put together a nice run in the third quarter by reeling off 10 straight during a two minute stretch to make it 41-22 with 3:52 left. That's also the time that Emde and Berwanger got hot, with Emde knocking down back-to-back baskets and Berwanger hitting back-to-back threes.
Bunceton also had its best quarter of the ballgame in the third by outscoring Prairie Home 19-7 to extend the lead to 22 at 47-25.
Needless to say the Lady Panthers didn't quit fighting in the final period while matching Bunceton point for point with 13.
Prairie Home coach Linda Scott said shooting only 20 percent from the field in any game tells the story of any lost. "I give all the credit to Bunceton, they work hard on both ends of the floor and play to win games," Scott said. "Our free throw shooting was much better tonight. Kendra had 13 points, which included two threes, and Makayla went 11 from 16 from the free-throw line to end the game with 15 points."
In addition to scoring 26 points and pulling down 10 rebounds, Emde also had three steals in the game. Berwanger, meanwhile, finished the game with three rebounds, three assists and one steal. Erica Kahle added 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and one steal while Deanne Emde had five points, six rebounds and two steals, Julia Kahle with five points, three assists, two steals and one rebound and Sam Brandes with three points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
Bunceton also finished the game hitting 6 of 10 shots from the foul line for 60 percent.
As for the scoring in the game for Prairie Home, Makayla Zey had 15 points, five rebounds, three steals and one assist. Kendra Stinson added 13 points, 10 steals, six assists and four rebounds.
Katlynn Watson chipped in seven points, three rebounds and one assist while Krista Small had five points, three rebounds, three steals and one assist, Josie Flood with three points, five rebounds and two steals, Kim Hettinger with two rebounds and one assist and Ally Small with one rebound.
The Lady Panthers also hit on 9 of 44 shots from the field for 20 percent and 15 of 24 from the foul line for 63 percent.
In the first game of the night, Hannah Stone burned the nets for a game-high 23 points to lead Otterville to a halftime score of 42-5 against Malta Bend.
Abby Gass had the team-high for the Lady Tigers with five points.
Meanwhile, in the second game, Trevor Barbour scored a game-high 24 points as the Jamestown Eagles led Malta Bend 54-20 at the break.
For the Tigers, Tyler Jenkins tossed in 18 points.