Posted: Monday, 04 March 2013 12:34PM

Class 4 Girls Sectional Basketball Preview



Springfield, Mo. (OzarksSportsZone.com)  -- The big classes have their sectional games on Wednesday. Here is what you need to know about the remaining SW Missouri girls teams in Class 4.

Bolivar (19-7)


How they got here – They Lady Liberators won the Class 4 – District 10 tournament in Marshfield in thrilling fashion. After holding Hillcrest’s Kelsi Cleeton and Brittany Fisher in check for a 55-52 semifinal victory, Bolivar put the clamps on Marshfield’s Lauren Aldridge to walk away with a 43-38 victory. The Lady Liberators were COC-Small runners-up and also won the Lebanon Tournament.

How they will advance – Bolivar has gotten to this point with great coaching and great defense. The Lady Liberators struggle offensively at times, so they combat that by not letting the other team score, and they are good at it. It starts with Shelby Roberts. The junior point guard is one of the area’s best on-ball perimeter defenders. Bolivar is also loaded with size and does an excellent job of not allowing second shots. Peyton Peavey staying out of foul trouble will also be important to Bolivar advancing past an extremely talented Sullivan team.

Player to Watch – Peyton Peavey: The 6-foot senior was saddled with foul trouble throughout districts, limiting her ability to be aggressive. Of Bolivar’s trio of trees (sophomores Mary Beth Payne and Madison Campbell are also both 6-foot) Peavey is the only senior. The Lady Liberators will need a big game from No. 22 on Wednesday, who had five straight double figure games heading into district play.

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West Plains (27-1)

How they got here – The Lady Zizzers have been one of the area’s top teams, suffering just one loss to Ash Grove back in December. West Plains beat Rogersville 44-13 in the semifinals, before winning a 59-58 overtime thriller over defending Class 4 state champs Republic on a game-winning buzzer-beater by Hannah Riggs. The Lady Zizzers, who were undefeated Ozark Conference champs, also won the Fair Grove and Reeds Spring Tournaments.

How they will advance – At this point in the season, any coach will tell you that you can’t change your game plan, do what got you here. For West Plains that will come down to being sound defensively, rebounding as a team and knocking down shots. Because the Lady Zizzers aren’t overly big, team rebounding will be especially important against the big frontline of Webb City. Plus, having Andi Haney on your team is always a good thing. It will be imperative for West Plains to knockdown shots to alleviate the attention that will be paid to Haney.

Player to Watch – Shelby Acklin: Acklin has shown the ability to be a viable third scoring option this season. The junior guard scored 13 points in Friday’s district championship against Republic, with the Lady Zizzers needing every one of those points. Against a Webb City team that likes to push the tempo, West Plains will need another big game from Acklin.

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Webb City (22-5)

How they got here – The Lady Cardinals bounced back from last year’s rebuilding season with a stellar campaign. The Class 4 – District 12 champs uneventfully defeated a pair of old rivals in Carl Junction and district host Carthage to claim another district title. Webb City also won the Carl Junction and Neosho Tournaments during the regular season.

How they will advance – This group of Lady Cards in pretty similar to any other Brad Shorter team. They are long, athletic and can push the pace. However, this year Webb boasts a pair of trees in the paint (Casey Heger and Desirea Beurge) that make the Cardinals more dangerous in the half court than they have been in recent years. Also, guard Mikaela Burgess is putting in 16 points per game to keep defenses honest. For Webb City to advance, they will need to own the glass and hold the Lady Zizzers not named Andi Haney in check. Haney is going to score her points, that is inevitable, but if Webb City can keep Cass Johnson and Acklin from having big nights the Lady Cards will be playing in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

Player to Watch – Casey Heger: The junior forward can beat you in a multitude of ways. Not only is she big (6-foot-2) but she is also extremely skilled and has shown the ability to step out and shoot face up jumpers. Most teams, specifically West Plains, don’t have anyone on their rosters that can matchup with the size and athleticism of Heger. Big games by Casey mean a deep run for the Lady Cards.

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