Columbia, Mo. (OzarksSportsZone.com) -- There were no first-time-at-state jitters for the El Dorado Springs Lady Bulldogs.
El Dorado Springs built an early double-digit lead, had it chopped in half, then responded like a veteran squad, beating Saxony Lutheran (Jackson) 60-38 in the Class 3 semifinals Thursday night at Mizzou Arena.
The Lady Bulldogs advance to Saturday’s title game, facing either Ash Grove at 2:40 p.m.
“Last week we played in (Independence) for quarterfinals and that was a big atmosphere and big stage,” said El Dorado Springs senior Alexa Schaaf. “We’ve never been this far before, so we had nothing to lose.”
Schaaf was superb in her team’s state debut, finishing with a game-high 22 points and nine rebounds while shooting 8-for-8 at the free throw line. Sister Kameron Schaaf added 13 points.
“(Alexa Schaaf) is the best player we’ve faced this season,” said Saxony Lutheran coach Sam Sides. “No question about it.”
Schaaf is 31 points shy of becoming the Lady Bulldogs’ all-time leading scorer, a mark currently at 1,680.
El Dorado Springs scored 13 straight in the first quarter to break an 8-all tie. Saxony Lutheran trimmed the deficit to seven by halftime.
Madison Mays hit two treys in the first four minutes of the third quarter, extending El Dorado Springs’ lead to 43-28. Saxony Lutheran never got closer than 13 the rest of the way.
El Dorado Springs would start to milk the clock from there. The Lady Bulldogs clinched the game at the free throw line, shooting 23-for-27.
“We had their pressure well and shot free throws extremely well,” said El Dorado Springs coach Beau Swopes. “If we shot 40 or 50 percent, I might not have been as comfortable backing it out and running a minute off the clock each time.”
For El Dorado Springs and its seniors, Mays and Alexa Schaaf, one more win is the objective.
“It’s kind of surreal,” Mays said. “We’ve all dreamed about being in this position, but to get here is definitely amazing. It’s an honor and blessing.”
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