Springfield, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- The Everton basketball Tigers boys and girls were at Greenwood Tuesday night to play the Blue Jays in two close games. Everton narrowly took the girls game 43-41, while the Greenwood boys turned up the heat to win their game 74-67.
The Lady Jays started the game off hot with an early layup by junior Kelsey Nau (19 points) in the first ten seconds of play, followed soon after by a 3-pointer from Hailey Jo Hopkins.
Greenwood dominated possession in the first quarter overall, outscoring the Tigers 9-4.
“We’ve been having a rough time; the last couple of games we’ve been playing hard, but we needed to play smart [against Greenwood],” said Everton head coach Kim Gladden. “If we play smart, we’re capable of beating a lot of teams.”
Possession is only nine-tenths of everything, and Greenwood’s shooting was off from the start according to head coach, Kent Hedgpeth. The Jays scored only four points to Everton’s 11 in the second quarter.
“It comes down to one thing: we shot 22 percent from the field,” said Hedgpeth. “We fought hard, played really hard, did a nice job defensively… but we just couldn’t get the ball to fall in the hole.”
As Everton warmed up, its all-time leading scorer, senior Linsey Denney, lit up the scoreboard with a barrage of layups and field goals.
Denney recently broke an Everton school record with 48 points in one game against Bradleyville. She averages about 25 points per game and met that mark tonight.
“This year, Denney is really coming into her own. The last couple of weeks she’s scored about 30 points per game,” said Gladden.
While Greenwood did not have the individual talent to match up against Denney, it had the benefit of a deeper bench and, with help from Nau and Anna Turner, managed to keep the scores close.
Nau picked up five points early in the fourth quarter that helped keep Greenwood in the game, and then Turner intercepted a pass to score a field goal and tie it all up, 34-34, with 3:50 left on the clock.
Neck-and-neck late in the fourth quarter, Denney picked up points with late free throws, putting Everton two points ahead of Greenwood for the win.
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