By Scott Vanscoy
Rogersville, Mo. — The Rogersville Lady Wildcats overcame a lethargic first half to defeat the Mansfield Lady Lions, 55-42, on Tuesday night. Both teams were without key players due to injury; Sarah Jordan for Rogersville and Alexis James for Mansfield. Rogersville went 13 for 14 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to secure the win.
The first half was full of missed opportunities and turnovers for both squads. Mansfield held a narrow one point lead at half, 21-20.
“The first half, we went out there and we just weren’t prepared, we were unfocused, we weren’t a team but a bunch of individuals,” said Rogersville junior Hailey Brown. “As soon as we went in at halftime, we came together. We had a bunch of leaders step up and say ‘hey, we need to get this done’. We went out there and ended up doing really good the second half.”
Rogersville senior Sarah Posey led all scorers in the first half with 10 of her game-high 17 points coming in the second quarter. Known for her defense, Posey put herself in the position to score.
“I knew that I had to step up and be one of the team leaders,” said Posey. “Getting rebounds and making put-backs and making layups was key to my game tonight. My defense is always my biggest role. I stay between the ball and the basket and I don’t let her get through me.”
Mansfield, who was struggling to score without James, continued to be scrappy on defense, causing Rogersville to turn the ball over.
“We’re down a good player,” said Mansfield coach Gary Greene. “We hope to have her back soon, we need her, we need her size. We didn’t execute particularly well down the stretch. Part of that is because all of our sets for three weeks had Alexis in the middle of them. Now all of a sudden, she’s not there, we’ve got different people in different spots, and we didn’t adjust very well. We’ve got to work on that a little bit and we need to make the shots we should make. Tonight I learned that I think we’re going to be ok if we can stay healthy.”
At the end of the third quarter, Rogersville had a 32-30 lead and the momentum was starting to swing their way. When Jordyn Gault hit the first of her two fourth-quarter threes to put the Wildcats up eight with 3:30 to go in the game, Mansfield was forced to start fouling. The Wildcats knocked down 13 of 14 free throws to secure the win. While Rogersville made their shots and their free throws, Mansfield struggled, only attempting two free throws in the final frame.
“We played a much better second half that we did the first,” said Rogersville coach Denny McHenry. “At halftime, I just reminded them that we have to get back to what we do in practice every day. I didn’t yell at them, I didn’t give them something special that we had to do, we just have to do what we do every day in practice.”
“We played hard,” said Greene. “We’re outsized, not real big, but I thought our effort was good. We missed a couple of easy shots in the fourth quarter that we really needed, shots that I think we should make. Give Rogersville credit, they hit two big three’s and made a million free throws. I don’t think we lost, I think they beat us. I’ve got to feel pretty good tonight.”
Rogersville played their first full game without their leading scorer from the past two seasons.
“We probably had a little bit of nerves and it creates havoc with our depth. We’re going to have to make some shots. Our two sophomores, Maci and Jordyn, hardly scored anything in the first half. Posey led us in scoring in the first half; she really played well for us. When you hold teams to 20-21 points in the first half, it’s not your defense that’s the problem, it’s the offense. We made a ton of free throws the second half. You’re going to win a lot of games when you make free throws in the fourth quarter.”
Mansfield 8 13 9 12 -42
Rogersville 6 14 12 23 -55
Mansfield— Alexis Farris-11, Calista Bogart-10, Adrian Adams-12, Maci Gray-4, Karsyn Brooke-5
Rogersville—Sarah Posey-17, Jordyn Gault-16, Maci McHenry-8, Hailey Brown-7, Jenn Branstetter-5, Taylor Overstreet-2