The Crane Lady Pirates reached a 12-game winning streak tonight with a runaway victory over the Ash Grove Lady Pirates, 60-44. Crane gained a 5-point lead late in the first period with a basket by Riley Israel, who swooped in to intercept a pass under Crane's net (11-6).
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After a basket by Maggie McMenamy for Crane and one by Lakin Simmerman for Ash Grove, the first period ended 13-8
Crane widened its lead to 16-8 at the top of the second period with a three-pointer by Kylee Moore from the back corner. Crane led by 10 after Addie Reel scored two baskets at the end of the half, 28-18.
The Lady Pirates continued to dominate, leading by 22 points late in the 4th quarter (60-38). Ash Grove managed to narrow the margin when Nikki Ogle scored back-to-back buckets within 20 seconds, followed by a basket by Sierrah Ballard. However, the effort came too late as the buzzer sounded.
Emma Lander scored 14 of her 18 points overall for Crane in the second-half.
The Ash Grove Lady Pirates are bouncing back from recent injuries, including Simmerman, who scored 12 points. Coach Brent Milleson would not offer injuries as an excuse for tonight's defeat.
"I thought Crane played terrific. Sometimes these things are just going to happen. They played really, really well. We will be as healthy as we're going to be by the time we get to districts. We're not going to use that as an excuse," said Milleson.
Crane head coach Jeremy Mullins had expected a tough game.
"We knew they were a tough team. They rely heavily on their posts. They can shoot outside. They're a well-rounded team. We knew we had our work cut out for us with Simmerman in the posts. We were expecting a very physical game," said Mullins.
Ash Grove (18-6) hosts Skyline on Monday. Crane (21-3) meets Sparta at home on Monday.
Mullins looks ahead to district play, which begins Feb. 16th with a match against Spokane for class 2, district 11.
"We're in a very tough district. I think we have one of hte toughest districts in the state. You never know. As good as everybody is nowadays, on any given day, we could get beaten. We've got to come prepared every night," said Mullins.
Crane is ranked No. 4 in the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Class 2 poll.
The Ash Grove Lady Pirates' district play begins Feb.18th against Sarcoxie, in class 3 district 12.
Ash Grove: Lakin Simmerman 12, Erin Weinreis 9, Katie Skelton 8, Halee Cashio 6, Nikki Ogle 4, Jamie Mauss 3, Sierrah Ballard 2
Crane: Emma Lander 18, Addie Reel 9, Maggie McMenamy 8, Riley Israel 6, Kylie Vaught 6, Lexie Vaught 5, Loni Johnson 3, Kylee Moore 3, Allie Hogler 2
Ash Grove: 8 10 15 11 -- 44
Crane: 13 15 19 13 -- 60