Walnut Grove, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- The Lady Tigers demonstrated why they hold the No. 1 spot in the state's Class 1 rankings as they recovered from a tough first quarter and beat the Lady Panthers 61-49 on Tuesday night
The second quarter opened with the Lady Tigers trailing the Lady Panthers 8-6. The Lady Panthers grabbed turnovers three times in the 2nd quarter's third minute.
Walnut Grove coach Rory Henry had expected Morrisville to present a challenge.
"This is a big game for us. This is a rivalry game. We knew how good this Morrisville team has been. We hyped this up as a big game, and I thought the kids got a little nervous at the start," said Henry.
Midway through the second period, the Lady Tigers tightened their offense. Lexi Harman finally gained a lead of 15-13 for the Lady Tigers with a rebound basket after three messy attempts by her teammates. The Lady Tigers pulled ahead 20-14 at the half.
The Lady Tigers and Lady Panthers went head-to-head in the 3rd quarter, each scoring 22 points. The Panthers' Kaitlyn Painter sank five baskets, scoring 10 of her 17 points on the night.
Henry credits the Lady Tigers with pulling together to meet the Panthers' challenge.
"That's part of working through things as a team. I want this team to learn. They're good at that. They did a good job of working through and making plays when they had to, and getting big stops when they had to," said Henry.
The Lady Panthers tried to regain the momentum in the 4th quarter, with Kaitlyn Painter sinking two more shots at the net and two of two at the line. The Lady Tigers pushed back and gained a 10-point lead with 3 minutes remaining.
Lexi Harman sealed the deal with back-to-back 3-point and 2-point baskets, and the Lady Tigers finished 61-49.
The Lady Tigers face Marshfield at home on January 10.
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