By Jordan Burton (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Miller senior Lynna Hadlock opened Monday’s Miller-Purdy game with a three.
Later in the quarter she hit another… then another and like the old NBA Jam video game, Hadlock was on fire.
Her game-high 27 points – coming on a school-record nine 3-point FG – helped guide Miller to a 61-35 nonconference home win over Purdy.
“I don’t ever get on to a kid for missing a shot, I just tell them to keep shooting,” said Miller coach Hannah Wilkerson. “Lynna is a scorer. Last year she just played her role as the point guard and this year we talked about her stepping up and she’s become a great leader and someone that does it all. She’s a complete player and so much fun to coach.”
While it was a bit of a 3-point explosion for the Lady Cardinals, who also received five triples from senior Shayne Mallory, the theme of Monday night was about defense.
Miller pitched a first-quarter shutout, opening up a 16-0 lead after the game’s first eight minutes.
A key factor in Miller’s defensive brilliance came by at the hands – literally – of junior Bethany Gulick.
Her two first-quarter blocks set the tone early for what Miller was bringing. Gulick didn’t register another block, but altered several shots and forced Purdy players to rush even more attempts. The Lady Cardinals also held all-state senior Layne Skiles, who averaged 17.8 PPG last season and has more than 1,300 career points, to just one field goal attempt in the opening quarter.
Skiles finished with just 14 points. She was the only Lady Eagle to register double figures.
“We knew Layne is a great player and that she can score from anywhere on the floor,” said Wilkerson. “We really focused on her and forcing some other players to have to make plays that they don’t typically make and keep the ball out of her hands. We were able to get stops and rebounds and it went from there.”
Purdy was able to mount a run in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to just eight following back-to-back triples by Skiles and classmate Hallie Henderson, but Miller finished the game by scoring 30 of the game’s final 42 points.
It was the sixth time this season that Miller held its opponent to 40 points or fewer. The Lady Cardinals are a perfect 6-0 in those games.
“This was our most complete game of the season,” said Wilkerson. “The girls work hard day in and day out, and when we play at home they just bring the intensity. The teamwork that we have is undeniable, and we have complete buy-in from everyone. We want to continue to build towards late February and early March, we’re not satisfied, and we don’t want to peak.”
In addition to Hadlock’s 27, Mallory added 19 points and classmate Riley Pennington chipped in eight off the bench. Zoe Brown scored nine points for Purdy, Hallie Henderson added eight.
Miller 61, Purdy 35
Purdy 0-14-11-10 – 35
Miller 16-11-12-22 – 61
Purdy – Skiles 14, Brown 9, Henderson 8, Mattingly 2, Spears 2.
Miller – Hadlock 27, Mallory 19, Pennington 8, Gulick 5, Neunschwander 2.