Seymour, Mo. (OzarksSportsZone.com) -- In a battle of state ranks, Heather Harman poured 25 points to lead the No. 3 Walnut Grove Lady Tigers over No. 8 Gainesville in the Seymour Tournament championship, 57-51.
“Coach talked a lot about getting a statement win,” said Harman. “All year we have wanted to prove that we could play with teams that aren’t just Class 1. We can compete against Class 2, 3, and 4 teams, and that’s why we play such a tough schedule. We can play with the bigger schools and that prepares us for the end of the season.”
Harman was recognized as the MVP and finished with All-Tournament Team honors.
“Heather did a great job for us tonight,” said Walnut Grove head coach Rory Henry. “She leads our team and keeps everything grounded for us. You know you want the ball in her hands towards the end of the game, because Heather steps up and makes big shots for us.”
Harman was lights out from the perimeter early on, as the senior went 3-3 from 3-point range to give the Lady Tigers a 21-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Gainesville began their comeback behind the momentum of sophomore Madison Strong, who scored 13 of her game-high 27 points in the second quarter, including her 1,000th career point.
“Madison Strong is a great player,” said Henry. “We tried to pressure her defensively, but we kind of underestimated her. She really did a good job on the court tonight.”
Strong would also grab a spot on the All-Tournament Team along with Walnut Grove’s Lexi Harman, who finished scored 10 points.
The Lady Tigers managed to keep a 31-28 offensive advantage at the half.
After the intermission, Gainesville grabbed their first lead of the game at 36-35 with 5:30 left in the third, but the Lady Bulldogs would fall short to Walnut Grove by a six-point margin.
“We played together as a team and ultimately that’s what got us the win tonight,” said Harman. “We got a big lead early and lost it, but fortunately enough our defense pulled us through.”
Walnut Grove improves to 16-4 on the season and Henry believes this win over the eighth ranked team in Class 2 will pay dividends with districts on the horizon.
“I’m happy for our kids right now,” said Henry. “That was a hard fought game, despite us coming away with the win. These types of games like this are the ones that prepare you most for districts.”
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