Posted: Sunday, 30 December 2012 1:23AM

Walnut Grove hoists home championship

Walnut Grove, Mo. (For  -- Pleasant Hope opened the Walnut Grove Holiday Classic tournament final as though they intended to upset the top-seeded Lady Tigers.

Walnut Grove pulled together its defense after the first period, putting a stop to the Lady Pirates’ Starla Staffen and sealing the tournament championship, 57-44.

The Lady Pirates pulled out of an 8-point deficit in the third period (27-19), thanks to a basket by Staffen, followed by a rebound and 3-pointer from Kari Hillenburg.


Lexi Harman answered with a basket for Walnut Grove, followed by a 3-pointer by Audree Crain and another score from Harman, ending the third period 36-28.

The Lady Tigers held onto that momentum and defensive pressure, eventually winning by 13.
Walnut Grove coach Rory Henry credited the Lady Pirates with a good fight.

“They’re a good team. We knew they were a good team. They battled all the way through. Our kids did a good job of defensive intensity the whole night. We did a good job on the half court, putting pressure on them, and not giving up easy baskets. At the end, we took care of the ball, and we took good shots,” said Henry.

Heather Harman earned the title of tournament MVP.  Harman attributed the Tigers’ success to teamwork, sealed by friendship.

“We’re really close as a team. Everybody knows each other really well, so it’s easy to make smart decisions, because we read each other. We have good chemistry, and we always know what each other are doing on the floor,” said Harman.

The Lady Pirates’ offensive duo of Kari Hillenburg and Catlin Evans was broken early in the 4th period when Evans fouled out. Hillenburg scored 14 points on the night; Evans had 8.

The Lady Pirates’ coach Jim Flora looks forward to the progress his team will make.

“I was proud of how hard they played. We didn’t give up. Hopefully, we can build from this. Our conference is really tough. Night in, night out, that’s the kind of defense and teams we’re going to have to play. Hopefully, that will make us strong come district time. We’d like to make a run at a district title; that will be our goal,” said Flora.

Walnut Grove 57, Pleasant Hope 44
Walnut Grove  9 14 13 21 57
Pleasant Hope  12 5 11 16 44

Pleasant Hope: Kari Hillenburg 14, Starla Staffen 14, Catlin Evans 8, Kylie Haraldson 2, Kori Hillenburg 6

Walnut Grove: Lexi Harman 19, Karsyn Hejna 13, Heather Harman 11, Audree Crain 7, Miranda Allison 5, Ellen Hayter 2

Photo Galleries

Pictures: Strafford Invitational

Strafford hosted its annual meet on Tuesday featuring 26 schools.

Pictures: Gainesville 13, Bakersfield 0

The Bulldogs get a victory in 5 innings

Pictures: Greenwood tennis vs. Parkview

The Blue Jays and Vikings faced off on Tuesday
O-Zone Opinion
Mohawk Chronicles: Breaking down the new boys basketball districts
It's that time again… Every two years MSHSAA reshuffles classes and districts, unintentionally and yet effectively changing the landscape of the sport and this spring was no different. Here are the changes you will want to note for the boys...
Read More
Making sense of the new girls basketball districts
Who do you have going all the way in your bracket? Your 2014-15 high school district basketball bracket, that is. Last weekend, MSHSAA released classification and district assignments for the next two school years. We saw notable changes in most...
Read More
Mohawk Chronicles: Boys Hashtag All-Stars
It is that time again, the 2nd Annual Hashtag All-Stars team is here. Eight teams, 40 players, household names, and some kids you may not know much about. Keep in mind, some players could probably be on every team, but I put them on the team I thought...
Read More
Most Viewed