WARRENSBURG — The Smith-Cotton Lady Tigers struggled offensively Saturday in a West Central Conference girls basketball game at Warrensburg High School.
S-C went 6 of 26 from the field (23 percent) and watched Warrensburg go 10 for 10 from the foul stripe at the end. Warrensburg beat S-C 44-31 in both teams’ regular-season finale.
While S-C struggled from the field, Warrensburg made 43 percent (9 of 21) of it shots inside the arc.
“I know we started out slow. We had only one point in the second quarter,” S-C coach Zach Vandevender said. “I told them we need to move the ball in that zone, get in the high post and attack. We had a lot of ... missed shots around the basket. We’ve got to knock them down.”
One reason S-C struggled was Warrensburg’s use of the backdoor cut.
“Defense is a strength we’ve had all year,” Vandevender said. “(Warrensburg coach Bob Rickman) exposed some things. ... We got backdoored a lot in the first half. A lot of their shots came around the basket.”
Warrensburg (9-16, 4-6 WCC) held a plus-10 (26-16) rebounding advantage and used a zone defense to befuddle S-C.
“(Rickman) ran a good 1-3-1 zone, and we didn’t execute and put down our shots,” Vandevender said.
Taylor Geis, who scored a game-high 17 points, scored four points, including one on a backdoor cut, and Rachel Mead came off the bench to sink a 3-pointer that gave Warrensburg an 11-4 lead. Elena Sharp drove the baseline for a basket that sliced Warrensburg’s lead to 11-6 after one quarter.
Sharp was one of two players to score a team-high seven points for S-C. Jack Greer also scored seven.
S-C was almost shut out in the second quarter. Greer sank 1 of 2 free throws with 13.8 seconds left that ended a 7-0 run. Warrensburg led 19-7 at halftime.
S-C played more aggressively in the third quarter, but Geis and Mac Cunconan, who totaled 11 points, each made a 3-pointer, and Warrensburg’s lead grew to 31-16 after the third.
Free throws were responsible for 18 of the fourth quarter’s combined 28 points.
S-C used the free-throw line to cut Warrensburg’s lead to six twice — two free throws by Greer (32-26 with 4:18 to play) and two by Taylor Gero (34-28 with 3:04 remaining) — but Warrensburg made its final 10 free throws to secure the win.
S-C (12-13, 4-6) will meet Jefferson City at 6 p.m. Monday in the first round of the Class 5, District 9 tournament at Hickman High School in Columbia.