COLUMBIA — A tough Jefferson City defense forced 22 turnovers as the Lady Jays beat Smith-Cotton 55-14 in the first round of the Class 5, District 9 tournament on Monday at Rock Bridge.
The Lady Tigers committed 16 of those turnovers in the first half alone and Jefferson City raced out to a 31-6 halftime lead.
“Defensively they got up in us and it was real physical,” said Smith-Cotton coach Zach Vandevender. “Defensively they just harassed us and we turned the ball over.”
Jefferson City put those turnovers to good use, scoring 21 points off turnovers.
“Our defense early was OK and then we kind of let up,” Vandevender said. “We didn’t get back like we needed to and gave up a lot of points off of turnovers.”
The Lady Jays shot 21 for 42 from the field with 26 points coming in the paint. When Smith-Cotton’s defense did cause turnovers, the Jefferson City players got back in transition. A Jessica Coble steal and layup in the first quarter accounted for the Lady Tigers’ only two points off turnovers in the game. Meanwhile, Smith-Cotton shot 6 of 29 from the field.
“We missed a lot of easy baskets right around the basket,” Vandevender said.
Coble had three steals in the game and Kirby Lewellyn had another as Jefferson City turned the ball over seven times, but on many of those turnovers, one or more Lady Jays were down the court and waiting for the Smith-Cotton ball handler before she got to the lane.
Kenzia Martin, who led a balanced Jeff City attack with 12 points, opened the game with a layup before Abby Perkins answered with a putback to tie the game 2-2. Jefferson City then scored the next seven points. After a layup by Coble, the Lady Jays went on a 13-0 run. After a Brianna Pollitt layup, the Lady Jays scored the final nine points of the half.
Pollitt, Perkins and Coble each scored four points for Smith-Cotton.