By Matt Turer/@MattTurer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
FAIR GROVE, Mo. — Trailing by seven with just over five minutes to go, Denny McHenry shouted four words to his team on the other side of the court.
Calm down. We’re fine.
The Wildcats listened. Logan-Rogersville erased that seven-point deficit down the stretch, getting a go-ahead put-back from Taylor Overstreet with six seconds remaining to win a thrilling early-season championship in the Fair Grove Tournament final over the Clever Blue Jays by a score of 53-52.
“We’ve wanted to win this tournament for three years now,” Overstreet said. “This is just such a big deal. It’s my senior year and I just wanted to go out and play my hardest. Our coach kept saying the hardest working team will win, and that was in the back of my mind the whole time.”
Maci McHenry was fouled and sent to the line for two key free throws after pulling down a key defensive rebound with seven seconds left and Clever nursing a 52-50 lead. The senior hit the first, pulling the Wildcats within a point. Then, after missing the second, Overstreet grabbed the rebound and converted the game-winning layup.
Jordyn Gault led the Wildcats with 17 points, including scoring nine straight on her own that turned a 47-40 deficit with 5:10 left into a 51-49 score with 90 seconds to play.
“One of our keys to today’s game was energy, effort and enthusiasm,” Wildcats head coach Denny McHenry said. “I kept reminding them of that. The tougher team tonight was going to win after playing back-to-back nights, and I thought down the stretch we might have been a little bit tougher.”
The win gave Rogersville its first Fair Grove Tournament title in its third try. The Wildcats beat Monett on Tuesday and host Fair Grove on Thursday on their way to the championship.
“We’re all about accomplishing goals or tasks we haven’t accomplished before,” Denny McHenry said. “That was a major goal for us. And to do what we’ve done to start the year without two starters on the floor is huge.”
Clever trailed 14-9 after the first quarter but led 26-22 at the half thanks to a strong second quarter.
Allie Clevenger led the Blue Jays with 20 points followed by 14 from Harper Little.
“We’re gonna have a lot of games like this with the schedule we’ve put together,” Clever head coach Dan Jones said. “We have to learn from this and move forward. We made a lot of rookie mistakes from our veteran crew and we can’t do that.”
LRHS- 14–8–14–17 |53|
CHS- 9–17–14–12 | 52 |
Logan-Rogersville- Jordyn Gault 17, Maci McHenry 13, Shelby Ince 11, Taylor Overstreet 8, Sophia Nixon 1
Clever- Allie Clevenger 20, Harper Little 14, Abi Menzies 12, Tessa Newman 6