By Kai Raymer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Due to injuries, Lincoln College Prep didn’t use its typical man-to-man, full-court press in Friday night’s Class 4 Show-Me Showdown semifinal at JQH Arena.
Unfortunately for the Logan-Rogersville Lady Wildcats, Lincoln had a pretty good backup plan.
An aggressive, in-your-face 2-3 zone.
Lincoln’s zone scheme shut down the Lady Wildcats’ offense amid a 40-18 victory for the public school from Kansas City.
“(Their zone) is active,” said Lady Wildcats coach Denny McHenry. “When you think you’re open, you’re not open because they have such great closing speed.
“The zone (defense) has been our Achilles’ heel all season long a little bit.”
Logan-Rogersville tallied just four points in the second half, all coming in the third quarter.
“(Defense) is something we preach and live by every day,” said Lincoln coach Jeff Atkins. “These girls love the game and they understand what defense takes. It wins championships.”
Chorus Davis and Brionna Budgetts scored 16 apiece for Lincoln (27-3 overall).
Lincoln faces Incarnate Word Academy in the Class 4 state championship game at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at JQH Arena.
Logan-Rogersville plays Miller Career Academy for third place at 12:50 p.m. Saturday at Hammons Student Center.
“It’s never fun to lose but just being one of four teams left, I think it’s an amazing experience,” said Lady Wildcats senior Maci McHenry. “Now, we’re talking about how we want to finish on a win.”
This weekend marks Logan-Rogersville’s first-ever final four appearance in girls’ basketball.
“We’ve worked so hard just getting here,” said Logan-Rogersville senior guard Jordyn Gault, who scored a team-high seven points. “To finally reach our goal has meant everything to us. We’re just kind of soaking up the whole experience.”
Lincoln scored the first 11 points of the game. Logan-Rogersville didn’t get on the scoreboard until Gault scored at the 1:43 mark of the first quarter.
But the Lady Wildcats made it a game from there.
Gault had a 3-pointer and Sydney Dunavant followed with a jumper to bring the Lady Wildcats as close as 13-11 midway through the second quarter.
“Momentum kind of shifted our way,” Gault said. “But we couldn’t get the stops we needed from there.”
Lincoln led 20-14 at halftime. The Lady Tigers outscored Logan-Rogersville 8-4 in the third quarter, then 12-0 in the fourth quarter.
“It’s hard to stay in that defensive mindset when you’re not scoring,” said Maci McHenry. “But I think we never gave up and still worked hard.”
Overall, Logan-Rogersville shot 6-for-39 from the field, including 1-for-13 on 3-point attempts. Lincoln shot 13-for-37 from the field and 5-for-17 from 3.
“You start the game and you’re playing on adrenaline,” Denny McHenry said. “We’ve preached to our girls throughout this run, ‘You can only play on adrenaline so long and (eventually) you have to settle down and play basketball.’
“A lot of (the lack of scoring) had to with being tired, and then also the time span that we haven’t played a game in almost a week.”
Lincoln College Prep 40, Logan-Rogersville 18
Lincoln 13 7 8 12 — 40
Logan-Rogersville 4 10 4 0 — 18
Lincoln (27-3 overall) – Chorus Davis 16, Brionna Budgetts 16, Mikayla Deshazer 4, Ajanee Bradley 2, Jasia Nicholson 2
Logan-Rogersville (23-8 overall) – Jordyn Gault 7, Shelby Ince 3, Maci McHenry 3, Taylor Overstreet 2, Sydney Dunavant 2, Sophia Nixon 1