Lady Dragons close the gap against Otterville in championship game in Holiday Classic
The first time the Bunceton with Prairie Home girls basketball team played Otterville, the Lady Eagles literally shot the Dragons out of the gym.
But in Saturday’s championship game in the Holiday Classic in Otterville, the Lady Dragons closed the gap while losing in single digits against the tournament’s No. 1 seed 53-44.
While the loss dropped Bunceton to 7-2 on the season, head coach Dustin Ray said this was a tough game against a great opponent. “We dug ourselves a hole to start the game and battled hard to get to where we ended up,” Ray said. “We missed too many shots at the line, and struggled yet again with the outside shot. Tough loss for the girls, but * believe we are learning and becoming better each game.”
A slow start hampered Bunceton for pretty much the entire game as the Lady Eagles led 13-5 after one and 28-18 at the break. Otterville also outscored Bunceton 7-5 in the third quarter to extend the lead to 35-23. However, in the final period, Bunceton rallied back with a 21-18 advantage to cut the lead to nine.
Josie Neal had 20 and CJ McKinney 18 for Otterville.
For Bunceton, Maddie Brandes finished the game with a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Kelsey Watson tallied eight points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals while Madison Brown added seven points, nine rebounds, one steal and one assist, Maggie Wood seven points, four rebounds, one steal and one assist, Madelynn Myers five points and 10 rebounds and Kylee Myers with two points and five rebounds.
Leading up to the championship game, Bunceton cruised through the first-two rounds by beating Hermitage in the tournament’s opener 43-11 and Smithton 61-41 in the semifinals.
In the opening round, Bunceton outscored Hermitage in all four quarters and led 23-6 at the half and 35-10 after three.
Ray said this was a solid performance from the girls to start off the weeks tournament. “We made some big adjustments from last week to this game and they really got it all together,” Ray said. “Proud of the strides they have made.”
Watson led all scorers in the game for Bunceton with 17 points, four steals and three rebounds. Brown chipped in 10 points, nine rebounds three steals and two assists while Wood added eight points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two assists, Brandes four points, 11 rebounds, one steal and one assist, Madelynn Myers two points, three rebounds, one steal and one assist and Kylee Myers with two points, one rebound and one assist.
Hermitage was led by Grace Newman with six points.
In the semifinals against Smithton, Bunceton led 35-12 at the half and 45-21 after three quarters of play. Smithton held a 20-16 advantage in the final period.
Ray said this was a really fun game to watch other than the fact that his team couldn’t get a shot to fall from the outside. “The girls were making great decisions on passes and giving themselves great looks at the rim,” Ray said. “This was a very good defensive performance by the entire team.”
Wood paced all scorers for Bunceton with 18 points along with nine steals, six assists and four rebounds. Watson finished with 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and one steal while Brandes had nine points and 10 rebounds, Madelynn Myers seven points, nine rebounds and three assists, Kylee Myers six points, five rebounds, two steals and two assists and Brown with four points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists.
For Smithton, Megan Stroll had 15, Lynnie Pehaven 13 and Audree Ross 11.