Posted: Thursday, 24 January 2013 11:32PM

Clever holds off late rally to top Cassville



Clever, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com)  -- Balance is the key to any successful offense. The Clever Lady Jays brought that style of offense to their match up against a strong Cassville team.

With the combination of junior Mackenzie Burns on the perimeter and sophomore Lexie Tennis in the paint, Clever (3-10) was able to grab a home win over the Lady Wildcats, 57-51. The Lady Jays closed the game on a 7-0 run after trailing 51-50 late.

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Tennis versus Cassville senior post player Emily Speakman proved to be the most important battle of the night.

Speakman scored seven of her team’s 13 first quarter points, all coming from the free throw line and in the paint. Tennis was a constant counter attack against Speakman for Clever. Tennis scored eight points in the opening quarter, but her team trailed at the end of the first quarter, 13-11.
 
Clever began the second quarter on an 11-3 run in the opening four minutes. Burns lead the charge for the Lady Jays, scoring eight consecutive of the team's 11 points during that time span. During the momentum-swinging run, Burns knocked down two 3-pointers to give Clever its first lead of the game. Cassville was able to keep the game competitive, but trailed the Lady Jays 25-19 at the half.
 
“Mackenzie (Burns) did a great job on defense, created turnovers which really helped us, and her making threes was big,” said Clever head coach Brandon Weiss.

The balance of Clever’s offense continued to shine in the third quarter. Five different players scored in the period, all amounting to an eight-point lead after the end of the third. Senior forward Bailey Ghan led the Lady Jays in scoring with five points in the quarter.
 
“We got some really good looks off of our traps and defense,” said Weiss. “It is obvious that we play better offense when we play our best defense.”
 
Speakman continued to work inside against a vulnerable Clever zone defense. After scoring eight points in the first-half, Speakman added 11 points in the third period. She was the key to the Lady Wildcats 8-2 run to begin the third. However, Clever countered with a 14-5 run to end the quarter. The biggest issue for Cassville was that they did not have a consistent scorer on their team outside of Speakman.
 
Neither Clever nor Cassville could establish a big lead and hold onto it throughout the game. In the fourth quarter, Cassville made a last effort push to try and steal the game from the Lady Jays. Speakman scored 11 more points in the fourth to bring her scoring total to a game high 30 points. It was not until junior Sydney Curnes knocked down a three from the left corner to give Cassville a 51-50 lead with just under one minute remaining in the final period.
 
After Curnes’ three however, Clever went on a 7-0 run to clinch the 57-51 victory. Tennis accounted for nine of Clever’s 16 fourth quarter points, and finished the game with a team-high 21 points.
 
Clever will take its newly gained momentum into its game Monday against Galena, while Cassville will face Carl Junction Monday at home.
 
Cassville Scoring: Emily Speakman 30, Kelsey Baker 6, Sydney Curnes 6, Katelyn Pitts 3, Brooke Fields 2, Britani Long 2, Lindsey Nolan 2
 
Clever Scoring: Lexie Tennis 21, Mackenzie Burns 16, Bailey Ghan 8, Lacey Menzie 5,  Kendra Zwicky 5, Amanda Postma 2

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