No pain, no gain.
Lady Gremlins senior Grace Goodwin scored a game-high 33 points Tuesday to help Sacred Heart defeat Smithton 68-46 at Sacred Heart School in Sedalia.
Playing through an elbow injury suffered Jan. 6 hosting Otterville, Goodwin said her teammates have been supportive as she works around an ailment to her dominant side.
“A lot of left hand, a lot of training my right to go through the pain of it,” Goodwin said. “I was hoping the freshman would step up, and they really did.”
Landing a last-second shot at the first-quarter horn, Goodwin started an 11-0 run that put the Lady Gremlins ahead 25-9 with six minutes to play in the second. Sacred Heart entered halftime leading 31-18 as the Lady Gremlins tormented the Smithton offense for points off turnovers.
The Lady Tigers responded after halftime with a 12-6 streak that, after a hook shot from sophomore Leighney Trotter, pulled Smithton within five points at 37-32. Back-to-back steals helped once again helped the Lady Gremlins extend the lead to 10 points, and Sacred Heart led 46-34 after three periods.
Goodwin said the defensive effort slipped as Smithton made its lead-threatening run.
“We got sloppy,” Goodwin said. “We talked about how any team, not just them, will come back.”
Sacred Heart sophomore Kiley Beykirch chipped in 22 points.
The Lady Gremlins (7-7, 2-2) snapped a four-game losing streak, most recently dropping conference tilts with Stover and Otterville — the latter of which finished in overtime. They continue Jan. 21 at Clinton.
Lynnie DeHaven, senior, drained a go-ahead 3-pointer four minutes into the game, giving the Lady Tigers a 5-4 lead. Goodwin tied the game at seven points apiece at the free-throw line. Trotter paced the Lady Tigers with 14 points, while DeHaven and senior Madalyn Amos finished with nine points apiece.
The Lady Tigers (5-7, 1-1) logged its first conference victory Friday, beating La Monte for the second time this season. They host Windsor on Thursday.
Smithton 67, Sacred Heart 66
Smithton sophomore Alex Walsh scored 19 points and landed the game-winning shot Tuesday during a 67-66 road victory over Sacred Heart.
Trailing by a pair after a layup from Gremlins senior Jude Rollings, a clutch 3-pointer from Smithton sophomore Derick Shull awarded the Tigers a lead they had enjoyed for much of the contest.
Nobody on the court stopped running as teams exchanged three buckets on the final four possessions. Sacred Heart senior Juan Fernandez missed a last-second, desperation attempt to follow Walsh’s go-ahead basket in the waning seconds.
“We knew we had to win tough games, and we did tonight,” Walsh said. “Hopefully we can keep on doing it.”
Shull finished with 10 points, while Tigers sophomore Tom Tripp contributed 15. Including seven and eight points, respectively, from juniors Logan McClain and Aaron Douglas, Walsh said he homes Smithton can continue making noise in the near future.
“We’ve got some young talent, so I think we’ll be good in a couple years,” Walsh said. “But we’re good right now.”
Gremlins sophomore Coen Brown recorded a game-high 37 points, scoring 22 in the second half. Sacred Heart senior Zaine Dover collected 18 points before exiting with five fouls.
While Smithton’s stringbean sophomores can host a memorable block party, the Tigers totaled 24 whistles to Sacred Heart’s 17 — with a player on each team fouling out.
Walsh said the Tigers will continue to play aggressively on both sides of the ball.
“We play tough defense,” Walsh said. “We play with a lot of contact. We’re going to have to try and stay off a little bit. Keep our hands off them.”
After a conference-opening loss Jan. 6 hosting Lincoln, Sacred Heart scored more than 70 points in consecutive wins against Otterville and Stover. The Gremlins (7-7, 2-2) resume Friday hosting Tipton.
While Smithton (8-4, 2-0) won two of three at the Tipton and Otterville Tournaments, the Tigers suffered losses to Tipton and Lincoln, respectively, at each event. They opened league play Friday with a 63-49 home win over La Monte and continue Kaysinger play Friday at Windsor.
Alex Agueros can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @abagueros2.