Prep girls basketball: Steals propel Smith-Cotton after sluggish start against rivals
The Smith-Cotton Lady Tigers got 10 steals, including seven in the first half, in a 34-24 West Central Conference win over Warrensburg on Friday at home.
“We worked on one pass away, getting up and denying,” said Smith-Cotton coach Zach Vandevender. “In the first half, we did a good job. We reiterated at halftime and we came out and really denied and got a couple of steals the second half too.”
Elena Sharp had four steals. Jack Greer had three, Megan Lollis had two and Kirby Lewellyn had one.
While the defense was shutting Warrensburg down, the Smith-Cotton offense took a while to get on track. Smith-Cotton went 0 for 10 from the field in the first quarter and trailed 5-0. Greer and Jordyn Kemp opened the second quarter with back-to-back jumpers and in the final three quarters Smith-Cotton shot 14 for 32 from the field.
“The first quarter we had some open looks in the flow of the game and it was just in and out,” Vandevender said. “I kept telling them to shoot and stay with it, and in the second quarter shots started to fall and we got shots in our offense.”
In the second half, Smith-Cotton hit 4 of 6 from 3-point range. Greer and Sharp hit 3-pointers as part of an 11-3 third-quarter run to increase what had been an 11-10 Smith-Cotton lead to 22-13. After Warrensburg cut the lead to five with a pair of baskets early in the fourth, Greer hit two more 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to give Smith-Cotton a 28-17 lead.
Taylor Geis got Warrensburg back to within eight with a driving basket, but Smith-Cotton got steals from Greer and Sharp on the next two possessions to slow the Warrensburg rally.
“We knew that (Geis) was a very good player and we tried to key on her,” Vandevender said.
Geis got a layup late to cut the Smith-Cotton lead to 30-24, but Sharp pushed the ball upcourt off the basket and got a layup, then got a steal and another layup to get the lead back to 10.
Smith-Cotton trailed 7-4 in the second when Lollis got a steal and a layup to cut the lead to one. On Warrensburg’s next possession, Sharp got a steal and fed Abby Perkins who converted a 3-point play to make it 9-7 Smith-Cotton.
Warrensburg got to within one with a free throw before Lollis got another steal and a layup.
“She plays with a lot of heart,” Vandevender said. “She sparked us on defense in the first half and did a great job.”
Greer had 13 points for Smith-Cotton. Sharp had 12, all in the second half.
Smith-Cotton (11-9, 3-2 WCC) will host Clinton at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Clinton at Smith-Cotton
5:30 p.m. Tuesday
RADIO: 92.3 FM
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