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Branson, who allowed just 28 points to Parkview in Wednesday’s first round game, held Fair Grove to just 33 points en route to a 48-33 quarterfinal victory Thursday at O’Reilly Family Event Center.
“Our team identity is our defense feeds our offense. We got stagnant so we relied on our defense and that’s when you started seeing the offense pick it up a little bit, we started attacking the rim and getting to the line,” said Branson coach Kip Bough.
Branson was in control from wire to wire, except for a span to start the second half, following a buzzer-beating quarter-court shot to end the first half by Fair Grove’s Bailey Weaver. The shot cut the Lady Pirate lead down to 10 at 25-15.
“It’s not uncommon to see a kid hit a three then carry that moment to the second half. That’s what I worried about and we talked to our kids about at half. We turned it over and took a couple of bad shots,” said Bough.
Fair Grove would continue that momentum into the third quarter, cutting the deficit down to one possession, that’s when Wichita State signee Moriah Dapprich went to work.
“She’s been our workhorse. We got a little stagnant tonight and she hit of big buckets that put us over the top, kept the lead for us. For us she is a stabilizing factor. She has to have a good game, every game,”
Dapprich scored a game-high 15 to lead Branson. Fair Grove was led by DeAmbra Pilkinton’s 12 points.
Skyline 54, Hillcrest 44
For the second time in as many days, the Lady Tigers jumped out to an early lead and survived a furious fourth quarter comeback on their way to a 54-44 quarterfinal victory Thursday night at O’Reilly Family Event Center.
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Skyline, who led 22-12 at halftime, was able to close the game out despite making just 7 of 16 free throws on the night and committing several turnovers down the stretch.
“I thought we lost a little composure, and that’s a lot to Hillcrest’s credit. They got up in us, and tried to force the issue. When we took care of the basketball we were fine, but when we started throwing it places it got ugly,” said Skyline coach Kevin Cheek.
However, a late 3-pointer by sophomore guard Madisen Brethower, who tallied a game-high 15 points, proved to be the dagger for the Lad Tigers.
Class 2 Skyline, who now owns wins over a Class 4 and Class 5 school respectively, will get a chance to continue the magic Friday night against Class 5 Branson.
“We aren’t very big when you walk out there. If you watch us warm up and watch them warm up we aren’t imposing by any means. I think it’s our kids’ mentality that we have to play harder than everybody else to make up for some difference. As a group we’re a lot better than they should be.
We get along really well, it’s a lot of fun right now,” said Cheek.
Hillcrest, who received 14 points from sophomore guard Kelsie Cleeton, will play Fair Grove Friday night with the winner advancing to the fifth place game on Saturday afternoon.