The Smith-Cotton Lady Tigers outscored Clinton 33-12 in the second half to win 51-27 in West Central Conference play on Tuesday at home.
The Lady Tigers caused 10 Clinton turnovers in the second half which led to 14 Smith-Cotton points.
“(We had) just a lot of energy,” said Smith-Cotton forward Elena Sharp. “Coach V (Zach Vandevender) came in at halftime and got us pumped up. We worked really hard on defense. That’s what won the game for us.”
Sharp got steals on two of Clinton’s first three possessions of the second half. She had another steal later in the quarter as well as a blocked shot. She finished the third quarter with eight points and scored 16 in the game.
“Her defense sparked that,” Vandevender said. “She got shots we worked on in practice. She got her feet set and knocked down those open looks.”
Smith-Cotton held Clinton to 12 second-half points and 4 of 17 shooting in the second half. Clinton shot 8 of 36 in the game and 1 of 9 from 3-point range.
“We were in help defense,” Sharp said. “We got down on the post and denied on the wings. Everything we worked on in practice we did in the second half and that’s what helped us.”
On offense, Smith-Cotton shot 2 of 12 from the field in the first quarter but hit 20 of 33 (60 percent) after that.
“We ball screened, picked away,” Sharp said. “It’s all stuff we worked on in practice and it’s all starting to come together.”
Seven Smith-Cotton players scored in the game, with Jack Greer adding 10 points, six of them in transition.
Smith-Cotton led 18-15 at halftime but Sharp’s eight third-quarter points jump-started a 14-2 run. Her steal and layup made it 26-17. Abby Perkins hit a hook shot on the Lady Tigers’ next possession to make it 28-17 with 2:41 to go in the third. Greer followed with a steal and a layup and Abby Knight hit a basket in the lane to make it 32-17.
Smith-Cotton opened the fourth quarter with a 3-point play by Megan Lollis and a basket by Tayler Gero. After baskets by Greer and Sharp, the Smith-Cotton lead was 43-22.
The hot-shooting finish came after a cool-shooting start as Smith-Cotton fell behind 3-0, missing its first three shots from the field before Sharp hit a driving layup. Kirby Lewellyn followed that with a pull-up jumper. The game was tied at 4 after one quarter.
Smith-Cotton opened the second quarter with a 6-2 run on baskets by Perkins, Sharp and Knight. After Clinton’s Janie Wetzel cut the lead to 10-8 with a runner, Lewellyn — playing increased minutes with Gero and Lollis in foul trouble — hit a jumper to make it 12-8.
“She did a great job and gave us a good spark in there,” Vandevender said. “A couple people get in foul trouble and I told her you never know when your time’s going to come. She stepped up tonight and did a good job.”
Smith-Cotton took over second place in the WCC at 4-2, behind the winner of Tuesday’s O’Hara-St. Pius X game, who will improve to 5-2. The Lady Tigers are 12-9 overall. Smith-Cotton will play at Center on Friday.
Clinton fell to 4-3 in the WCC.
Smith-Cotton at KC Center
5:30 p.m. Friday
RADIO: 92.3 FM