Lady Dragons win close game against Pilot Grove, beats Northwest of Hughesville

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
Bunceton's Madison Brown puts up a shot in the middle of the lane in the second half Monday night against Pilot Grove in the Pilot Grove Tiger Classic. Bunceton won the game over Pilot Grove 55-50.
Pilot Grove freshman Emma Sleeper (12) drives in for a layup in the first half Monday night against Bunceton in the Pilot Grove Tiger Classic.

In a battle of unbeatens and former rivals in the CCAA conference, the Bunceton Lady Dragons basketball team can now breath a sigh of relief after holding off a second half rally by Pilot Grove for a 55-50 victory Monday night in the annual Tiger Classic.

Although Bunceton with Prairie Home coach Dustin Ray couldn’t have been too happy with the Lady Dragons blowing a 19-1 lead after one quarter, or a lead late in the third period, Ray said he finds himself thinking the same thing as game one. “We didn’t play that well, but it was well enough to win,” Ray said. “We did a lot of things right in the first and fourth quarter, and a lot of things wrong in the middle quarters. The experience from these girls being in a close game is what gave them the edge to push through and come out on top.”

Ray and the Lady Dragons couldn’t have played any better for eight minutes and 16 seconds while leading Pilot Grove 19-1.

While closing out the first period on a 12-0 run to go up 16-1, Bunceton also opened the second quarter with a three by senior Kelsey Watson to extend the lead to 18 at 19-1.

But what happened after that is anybodys guess as Pilot Grove closed out the period on a 19-2 run to cut the lead to one at 21-20.

Of course eight turnovers in the period by Bunceton didn’t help matters, or that the Lady Dragons quit taking the ball to the basket. However, the Lady Tigers showed good balance during the run with six different players scoring.

Pilot Grove coach Grant Fricke said in the pregame, he preached patience in the offense and wanting to get ball reversals to break down Bunceton’s zone.

“I thought it got to be where the girls became a little too unselfish,” Fricke said. “Our first quarter we didn’t have a single bucket. Our only point coming from a Leah Vollrath free throw. We lost that first quarter 16-1 and the first possession out of the quarter break when Kelsey Watson hit a three pointer. However, I’m proud for the heart that my girls showed. The determination it took to go out and win that second quarter was huge. We won 19-5 to bring it to within a point, trailing 21-20 at halftime.”

Fricke said from there it was a barnburner of a game. 

Again, the Lady Dragons came out hot to start the third quarter by leading by as much as five on three different occasions. But over the final three minutes and 59 seconds, Pilot Grove started to hit its threes by taking a one point lead at 35-34 with 1:49 left.

Bunceton still outscored Pilot Grove 17-15 in the third quarter. However, it took a 4-0 run in the final 37.3 seconds to give the Lady Dragons the lead at 38-35.

The fourth quarter was just as close, with Pilot Grove going up by one on two occasions at 46-45 and 48-47 with 2:51 left. However it was pretty much all Bunceton after that as the Lady Dragons closed out the game on a 8-2 run for the victory.

Fricke said the girls lost two close quarters in the second half. “We had fought back to take the lead in the third and really had a shot at breaking away, but Bunceton closed out that quarter on a run, after a timeout at 1:20, to be up 38-35. We will learn a lot from this game. It is always easier to learn from a loss than it is a win. You have that hunger and desire to perform better the next time. We look forward to competing against them again.”

Madison Brown had 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals to lead Bunceton, 2-0.

Maggie Wood chipped in 16 points, four rebounds, two steals and two assists while Madelynn Myers added nine points, eight rebounds, three steals and one assist, Maddie Brandes nine points, six rebounds, two assists and one steal, Kelsey Watson four points, three rebounds and one assist and Paiton Williams with one assist.

For Pilot Grove, 3-1, Grace Phillips and Emma Sleeper each had 16 points while Marci Lammers added six, Leah Vollrath five, Danae Lammers three and Natalie Glenn with two.

Tuesday’s game

The Bunceton Lady Dragons basketball team outscored Northwest of Hughesville in all four quarters for a 48-34 win Tuesday night in the Pilot Grove Tiger Classic.

The Lady Dragons, 3-0 on the season, led Northwest 19-13 at the half and then outscored the Mustangs 29-21 in the second half to win the game by 14.

Bunceton coach Dustin Ray to say that the Lady Dragons won the ugly one is an understatement.

“The girls came out flat and our first quarter showed that,” Ray said. “We won, and I guess I can say that I am happy about that, but we still are a long way from where I know we can be. I am extremely happy that we were able to grind the game out and get a win, but I know I am not satisfied and I’m sure the girls aren’t either.”

Madelynn Myers led three players in double figures for Bunceton with 15 points. Myers also had five rebounds, two steals and one assist in the game.

Madison Brown finished the game with a double-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and one steal while Maddie Brandes added 10 points, nine rebounds, one steal and one assist, Maggie Wood nine points, eight rebounds, two assists and one steal, Kelsey Watson four points, three rebounds, three steals and one assist, Kylee Myers six rebounds and one assist and Paiton Williams with four rebounds.

For Northwest, Karli Smith had 15, Grace Walker 10 and Maddie Willmeth with nine.

Note: Bunceton girls are scheduled to play Sedalia Sacred Heart on Friday. If the Lady Dragons win the game, they will be champions in the Tiger Classic.