By Don Eskins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
After falling behind 6-0 in opening frame play, the top seeded Forsyth Lady Panthers turned on the jets to run past the Lady Wolves of Reeds Spring 59-35 Saturday night to capture this year’s Galena Lady Bear Invitational Basketball Tournament.
The Panthers were led by seniors Emily Shipman, with 23, and Kaylee Henning with 13. The victory made it two Lady Bear Invitational championships in a row for the Forsyth Lady Panthers.
Heading up the offensive effort for the Lady Wolves was Jade Watson with 13.
“We’ve been living off our depth this year, but we’ve had some injuries of late so I was a little nervous as to how we’d handle the pressure of being somewhat shorthanded for the Lady Bear Tournament,” said Forsyth head coach Mandy Rogers. “But our kids stepped up to the challenge and got it done for us.”
Leading just 22-15 at the half the Lady Panthers used a tenacious defensive effort in the third period, limiting Reeds Spring to only three points while scoring twenty-five of their own, to grab an unsurmountable twenty-nine point lead at the end of the quarter.
Shipman scored 12 of her game-high 23 points in the third period.
The Lady Wolves bounced back to outpoint Forsyth 17-12 in the fourth and final period of play but the large Panther lead was just too much for Reeds Spring to overcome.
“Reeds Spring really played hard but our defense made all the difference. Our kids were jumping the passing lanes and getting us into our transition game quickly,” said Rogers. “For us it’s always about defense, that’s what we pride ourselves on the most.”
“We did have a big night on defense,” Kaylee Henning concurred. “The pressure we were able to put on the ball helped us to get a lot of steals tonight. The steals helped to get us going strong to the basket for some quick points.”
Shipman also felt good about the Lady Panther effort.
“Tonight was just an all-around great game for us all,” said Shipman. “Everybody contributed and we communicated with each other on the floor really well. Our communication played a big role in just how well we performed.”
The Panthers defensive effort helped to pave the way for eight Lady Panthers to score.
For her overall play in this year’s Lady Bear Invitational, Forsyth’s Scarlett Texeira was named as the tournament’s most valuable player in the tournament.
“This was a big win for us tonight and being selected as the tournament’s most valuable player was a big honor for me,” said Texeira. “But I couldn’t have done it without my teammates.”
Next up for the Panthers will be the Mansfield Invitational Basketball Tournament.
“It’s going to be a tough one. There’ll be a lot of good teams there,” said Forsyth’s Rogers. “But we have a week to get ready, and at Mansfield we’re going to have to be.”
The Galena Lady Bears downed the Wheaton Lady Bulldogs 40-36 to grab third place in the tournament. The Bears were led by Hope Deines with 20 points and Abby Rice with 11. For Wheaton Monica Hiniojosa had 20.
Forsyth: Emily Shipman 23, Kaylee Henning 13, Scarlett Texeira 6, Meadow Mardis 5, Calley Matthews 5, Triniti Sullenger 3, Katrina Drake 2, Kloe Hendrickson 2. Free Throws: 7/10/70%
Reeds Springs: Jade Watson 13, Bryn Hager 10, Brooke Davis 7, Alexandra Steed 3, Carley Reeves-Eakins 2. Free Throws: 9/17/52%
All Tournament Team
1. Karli Henry – Seymour
2. Monica Hiniojosa – Wheaton
3. Abby Rice – Galena
4. Carley Reeves-Eakins – Reeds Spring
5. Kaylee Henning – Forsyth
6. MVP Scarlett Texeira – Forsyth