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Bunceton holds on to beat No. 2 Sweet Springs, 53-52

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News

The Bunceton with Prairie Home Lady Dragons basketball team is proving that they belong with the best after knocking off No. 2 Sweet Springs Wednesday night in the semifinal round of the New Franklin Tournament.

After winning by 20 two nights earlier against Fayette, the Lady Dragons had to sweat this one out on Wednesday by edging Sweet Springs 53-52.

In other games, the New Franklin girls fell to top-seeded Community R-6 60-31 while Pilot Grove upended Westran in the consolation round 61-35. Fayette also prevailed against Sturgeon 45-33.

The Lady Dragons, 9-2 on the season, had a great start in the first quarter against Sweet Springs by hitting on 5 of 11 shots from the field to lead by two at 16-14. However, in the second quarter, the Lady Greyhounds rallied back with a 21-14 advantage to lead at the half by five at 35-30. 

Of course it’s easy to see why Sweet Springs took a lead into the half after going on a 10-2 run during a three minute stretch late in the period to go from trailing 24-23 to lead 33-26 with 1:44 left.

However, in the third quarter, Bunceton couldn’t seem to miss while Sweet Springs struggled shooting the ball. As it turned out, the Lady Dragons went from trailing by five to lead the Greyhounds by five at 44-39. 

Also, in the third period, Bunceton scored the first 14 points of the second half to lead 44-35 before Sweet Springs scored the final four points to close the gap.

The fourth quarter was just as exciting as the first-three as Bunceton opened up a seven point lead at 46-39 only to have Sweet Springs rally back to cut it to three on four different occasions. Meanwhile, after a basket to make it a one point game at 53-52, both teams turned the ball over on their next possessions. Then, after another turnover by the Lady Dragons with 3 seconds left, Sweet Springs had a chance to win the game but missed on a shot in the corner at the buzzer.

Bunceton coach Dustin Ray said the girls battled hard for four quarters, and in the end, were able to out-last Sweet Springs pressure. “I am so proud of this group of girls,” Ray said. “Everyone produced and played great minutes and we showed a great amount of heart. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of this game.”

Maggie Wood paced all scorers in the game for Bunceton with 19 points along with five rebounds, four steals and one assist.

Madison Brown finished the game with 13 points, eight rebounds, four steals and two assists while Madelynn Myers added eight points, four steals, three rebounds and two assists, Kelsey Watson eight points, two assists, one rebound and one steal, Maddie Brandes five points, nine rebounds and one assist and Kylee Myers with two rebounds.

For Sweet Springs, Michaela Malter had 26 points and Ryan Johnson with 11.

As for the New Franklin girls, they had a tough draw against No. 1 Community R-6 and trailed throughout the game as the Trojans led 17-5 after one, 35-14 at the break and 51-23 after three quarters of play.

New Franklin coach Morgan Vetter said this was a tough loss against a tough opponent.

“We’re hoping to bounce back for a third place win against another tough opponent,” Vetter said. “We’re improving in some areas of our game, but need to clean up some on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.”

Sarah Angel had 19 points and Brianna Beamer 16 for Community R-6.

For New Franklin, who dropped to 5-6 on the season, Carly Dorson tossed in 14 points while Abby Maupin added nine, Kelsi Fair four, Campbell Cooper three and Kristen Flick with one. 

As for the Pilot Grove girls, they also had a battle on their hands early on while leading Westran by just four (10-6) after one and by six (21-15) at the break. However, in the second half, the Lady Tigers added some distance between them and Westran by holding a 40-20 advantage for the win.

Pilot Grove coach Grant Fricke said credit Westran’s defense in this game.

“The Lady Hornets had a wonderful game plan defensively that they kept switching from one defense to the next,” Fricke said. “Nearly every play they switched between a 2-3 zone, 1-3-1 or man defense. My girls struggled to find offensive rhythm in the first half.  We found ourselves up, but only scoring 21 is still very low for our goal. At halftime I told them they had two options. They had to either be patient enough to read the defense, recognize what defense it was, call the play and attack, or they had to get out in transition and not allow for the defense to even get set up. 

“I challenged them to double their score coming out of the half. I said, “21 in a half?! You’ve had quarters better than that!” And low and behold we go out with a sense of urgency and score 23 in the third. What really allowed us to get going is that pivotal third quarter was our press. We turned up the defensive intensity much better, playing denial defense, getting in the passing lanes, and getting deflections, which led to easy buckets.”

Grace Phillips had the high game for Pilot Grove, 6-3, with 21 points. Emma Sleeper chipped in 12 while Marci Lammers and Danae Lammers added nine points each, Kaitlyn Maggard with four, Leah Vollrath with three, Natalie Glenn with two and Grace Peterson with one.

For Westran, Dylan Perry had 14, Kenzie Black eight and Maci Crutchfield with six.

Pilot Grove's Danae Lammers shoots over a Westran player in the second half Wednesday night in the consolation round of the New Franklin Tournament.
Bunceton's Madison Brown puts up a shot over a Sweet Springs player in the fourth quarter Wednesday night in the semifinal round of the New Franklin Tournament.