Tuscumbia topples Prairie Home 53-34

It came as no surprise that Bunceton and Pilot Grove girls battled to the very end Monday night in the Class 1 District 9 Tournament at Eldon.
With the winner to move on to face Higbee in the semifinal round on Wednesday, the Lady Dragons appeared to get hot at the right time by outscoring Pilot Grove 26-21 in the final period for a 54-49 victory.
Of course Bunceton wasn’t the only winner on the night. Top-seeded Glasgow won easily over Jamestown 54-24 while Tuscumbia defeated Prairie Home 53-34. As for the Higbee girls, they recorded the tournament’s first upset by knocking off No. 2 St. Elizabeth 47-40.
Tournament action will continue on Thursday, with Glasgow playing Tuscumbia at 4 p.m. and Higbee battling Bunceton at 5:30.
Winners of six straight and eight out of their last 11 games, the Bunceton girls answered every run by Pilot Grove and never wavered once after falling behind.
Of course if you ask Bunceton coach Brian Emde, the girls played with desire and heart throughout the game.
“Great effort by both teams,” Emde said. “Both teams played hard and it was a good game to watch. Lauren Wieland had another double-double, her third consecutive game and eighth on the year. She shot 11 of 17 from the free throw line, including some late in the game to help close it out. I also thought we shot the ball later in the game, including some big shots at key times. Taylor Burnett made a three-pointer to tie the game at 13-13 to end the first quarter. Emily Clevenger also scored all of her nine points in the fourth. Cara Bishop also had a big baseline jump shot at a opportune moment while Skyler Shuffield had a breakaway layup in the fourth.”
Of course you knew this game had all the makings of being a close game. After all, the Lady Dragons and Lady Tigers are no strangers when it comes to playing each other. Although the games have been fewer than in year’s past since Pilot Grove joined the CAC, the rivalry still continues.
That showed throughout the game as the teams battled back and forth for 32 minutes with no more than five points separating the two teams. Bunceton’s biggest lead came in the fourth quarter on a basket by senior Emily Clevenger to make it 43-36 with 2:57 left. The Lady Dragons also led by seven after two free throws by Clevenger at the 2:22 mark. Then, with 2:06 left, senior Skyler Shuffield scored her only basket of the game at a crucial time to push the lead to 47-40.
Pilot Grove’s biggest lead of the ballgame came early after a layup by senior Reagan Walker to make it 13-10. The basket by Walker also capped off a 8-0 run by the Lady Tigers.
However with the clock running down in the first, junior Taylor Burnett hit a three from the top of the key at the buzzer to tie the game at 13-all.
The second quarter was also close with neither team leading by more than four points. Bunceton and Pilot Grove also played to two ties in the second at 15-15 and 18-18. However a 4-0 run in the final minute and 39 seconds is all it took for the Lady Dragons to lead Pilot Grove at the break 22-18.
Of course that four point lead was gone in a matter of minutes in the third as Walker hit back to back baskets to tie the game at 22-all. Pilot Grove also outscored Bunceton 10-6 in the third to tie the game at 28-28.
However after taking a 32-30 lead with 5:55 left, the Lady Tigers had several turnovers at the inopportune time. As a result, Bunceton went on a 9-0 run to go up 39-32 with 3:58 left. But even then Pilot Grove had a chance while cutting the lead to three at 48-45 after a three by Walker with 51 seconds left.
The Lady Tigers also had it down to three at 50-47 after a basket by junior Melanie Wolfe. However the free throw line would prove to be Bunceton’s best friend for the rest of the game as the Lady Dragons hit 4 of 6 shots to seal the victory.
Bunceton also outscored Pilot Grove 26-21 in the fourth.
Pilot Grove coach Landon Daniel said not the way they wanted to end the year.
“You have to give Bunceton a lot of credit, they came out and wanted to win and flat out kicked out butt,” Daniel said. “We had too many mental lapses in the game and too many turnovers. It’s frustrating to know that we didn’t play well in our last game of the year but that’s why playoff basketball is so special when you win. Reagan Walker had a great offensive night for us and really dominated any person who tried to guard her. She has been a mainstay for us over her four years and she showed tonight how important she is for our team. Kaitlen Weekley is our other senior that we will miss for her positivity and work ethic. She has been a huge asset for us this year and someone that we could always trust to do the little things right for our team to succeed. Again not the way we wanted to end our year but I’m very proud of this team and for the things they accomplished this year both on and off the floor.”
Wieland had a double-double in the game for Bunceton, who improved to 12-11 overall, with 25 points and 12 rebounds. She also finished the game with seven steals and four assists.
Emily Clevenger added nine points and two assists while Taylor Burnett chipped in eight points and one assist, Chloe Moser seven points, 10 rebounds and two steals, Cara Bishop three points, one rebound and one steal and Skyler Shuffield with two points, five rebounds and two assists.
The Lady Dragons also hit on 17 of 49 shots from the field for 35 percent and 18 of 31 from the foul line for 58 percent.
For Pilot Grove, who closed out the season at 14-12 overall, Walker finished the game with 24 points, five rebounds, four steals, two assists and one blocked shot.
Wolfe chipped in 10 points, seven rebounds, two steals, two blocked shots and one assist while Kaitlen Weekley added six points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals, Natalie Rentel four points, nine rebounds and one steal, Chloe Schlotzhauer three points, six rebounds, one assist and one steal, Aryn Lorenz two points and two rebounds, Abby Schupp two rebounds, two assists and two steals and Reagan McFatrich with two rebounds.
The Lady Tigers finished the game hitting 21 of 57 shots from the field for 37 percent and 6 of 19 from the line for 32 percent.
Prairie Home vs. Tuscumbia
As for the Prairie Home girls, they had the worst possible start against Tuscumbia in a No. 4 versus No. 5 matchup.
Although the lead was only six by Tuscumbia after one at 17-11, it probably felt like 100 as Prairie Home watched the Lions roar back with nine unanswered points after trailing 11-8.
However the Lady Panthers were very much in the fight down by only six (28-22) at the half.
After both teams put up 11 in the second, Tuscumbia came back and outscored Prairie Home 8-4 in the third to extend the lead to 10 at 36-26. Meanwhile, in the fourth, the Lady Panthers ran into foul trouble with three players sitting on the bench and only two on the floor.
Of course it didn’t help that Tuscumbia went on a 8-0 run to start the fourth or that they reeled off seven straight late in the game to extend the lead to 24 at 51-27.
Prairie Home coach Dalton Armontrout said the girls didn’t get out on their shooters and offensively they had little ball movement.
“We got in a hurry to score the ball,” Armontrout said. “We committed too many turnovers and it seemed like we could never get stops. We ended the season at 9-16 but we play a tough schedule and are very young. We return everybody and add a couple more pieces. These girls are very talented and I’m looking forward for the coming years.”
Tuscumbia was led by Scout Rush with 16 points and 10 rebounds while Abbi Grimwood and Madison Stark added 14 points each.
For Prairie Home, Kourtney Kendrick finished the game with a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. She also had six steals.
Kelsey Watson chipped in 10 points, five rebounds and two steals while Maggie Wood added eight points, one rebound and one steal and Ashlyn Twenter with two points, two rebounds and one steal.
For the game, the Lady Panthers also hit on 14 of 65 shots from the field for 22 percent and 4 of 10 from the foul line for 40 percent.