Branson, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- A hard fought battle between the Branson Lady Pirates and Bolivar was settled with free throws in the final minutes of Tuesday night’s basketball game. Branson (3-3) defeated the Lady Liberators 50-44.
“I think after a hard road trip loss, the team played well, but we have room to improve, because we fouled quite a bit.” said Branson coach Kip Bough. “I think overall we shot 14 of 30 from the foul line and still come out with a win over a very good ball club.”
Branson scored the first seven points of the game. In the fourth minute Bolivar (1-2) scored twice to tie the score. Branson went ahead on the next play and finished the first quarter with a 11-10 lead.
In the second quarter the teams were tied at 12 until Bolivar’s Daiwa Emmert hit a trey. Branson ran into some foul trouble allowing the Lady Liberators to stay one step ahead of Branson.
Bolivar coach Darin Archer said, “I thought our lack of experience showed there late. We went 17 of 30 from the line and you aren’t going to win many ballgames doing that. Hats off to Branson, they put a lot of pressure on us and we didn’t handle it well at times. I feel like we made a step forward as a team tonight and that is what you want your young girls to do.”
With two minutes left in the second, Branson’s Jessica Tankersley was fouled. She made one free throw to tie the score at 21. Lady Pirates’ Jessie Barton stole the ball and passed to an open Marissa Turpen. Turpen made a layup to put the Branson ahead 23-21.
Bolivar scored quickly in the beginning of the third quarter to tie the score at 23, but the Lady Pirates were able to go on a five point run making the score 30-23.
The Lady Liberators battled back and tied the score at 30. Barton scored a trey to put Branson ahead. Bolivar’s Shelby Roberts hit both free throws putting them behind by one. With less than a minute remaining, Mary Beth Payne put Bolivar ahead by one.
With 30 seconds left, Branson’s Ashley Forrest hit a trey. The Lady Pirates lead 36-34 at the end of the third quarter.
Both teams found themselves in foul trouble during the fourth quarter. Branson made 10 of 24 free throws in the fourth while Bolivar made 6 of 14.
“My philosophy is early in the year it is better to have the girls aggressive and they will learn as the year goes on how not to foul,” said Bough. “I understand early in the year we are going to have some foul trouble, but I would rather them be aggressive.”
Branson was able to fend off the surging Lady Liberators by making free throws. Bolivar did come within one point at the two minute mark, but the Lady Pirates were able to continue their climb to end the game 50-44.
Bolivars plays Thursday, Dec. 6 at El Dorado Springs and Branson plays again on Friday, Dec. 7 at Carl Junction.
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