Clevenger’s 25 points pace Clever past Lebanon

By Denise Tucker (For OzarksSportsZone.com)

The Clever Lady Bluejays overcame some early foul trouble and used a 12-0 run to open the second half on their way to a 71-53 first-round victory in the Pink Division of the Pink & White Lady Classic on Thursday at Weiser Gym on the Drury University campus.

The sixth-seeded Lady Jays got off to a fast start and led 16-9 after the first quarter. But, behind the 14 first-half points of senior guard Jenna Glendenning, Lebanon was able to keep the game within reach as Clever’s lead remained at seven (33-26) going into halftime.

Clever standout senior guard Allie Clevenger picked up her third foul with 5:31 to go in the second quarter, which changed the game and gave Lebanon a chance to get back in it.

“I knew I couldn’t pick up my fourth foul in the second quarter,” Clevenger said. “I didn’t get off to the good start that I wanted to. I kind of got in my head a little bit and that messed up my shots in the first half.”

But, it was a different story in the second half. After an eight-point first half for Clevenger, she and the Lady Jays caught fire to start the second behind a 12-0 run that opened up a seven-point lead to a 19-point advantage with a little more than three minutes to go in the third quarter.

“At halftime, I just cleared my mind in the locker room and went out there and was relaxed and it just started falling for me,” said Clevenger, who scored 10 points in the third quarter. “I knew – hands up and moving my feet – I couldn’t get in foul trouble. We just had to get things going for us in the second half, and as soon as it did, we were just off (to the races.)”

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS OF THE GAME

Clever employed a zone defense, in addition to its full-court press, to force Lebanon to attack from the outside.

“We knew what they were going to do, and we knew they were going to try and flood the middle offensively,” Clever coach Dan Jones said. “We tried to stop them, but we were just in the wrong places, so we made that adjustment the second half. And, once we were able to stop the ball from coming in the free-throw line area, that pretty much ended the game.”

As for the offensive outburst to start the second half, Jones said this team is capable of that production.

“I’ve coached a lot of teams and this team has the potential of being the best offensive team I’ve ever coached, as far as being able to shoot the ball,” Jones said. “We’re shooting, as team the last four games, right at 40 percent from 3, and almost 90 percent from the free-throw line. So, we know we’re going to hit some shots; we’ve just got to get stops.”

And, that run was too much for Lebanon to overcome, coach Jacky Payne said.

“We kind of ran out of gas, but I think they had their foot on the pedal coming out in the third quarter,” Payne said. “When they got the ball and scored, and scored again three times in a row, it kind of took the wind out of our sails a little bit.

“I thought our kids played hard and it was a good first half. I thought we were close enough to still have a shot. They are a really good team. They do a good job. They’ve got inside-outside; they’ve got quickness and 3-point shooting, obviously.”

With about a minute-and-a-half to go in the third quarter, Glendenning scored on a drive down the lane to pick up the 1,000th point of her career at Lebanon.

Not only did Glendenning score 20 points to lead the Lady Yellowjackets, she pulled down five rebounds, handled the ball and did a lot of the little things that don’t show up in the scorebook.

“She is an absolute warrior,” Lebanon coach Jacky Payne said. “She does everything – she’ll drive in there; she’ll steal the ball; she’s always hustling; she can shoot 3s, pull-up jumpers, pass… She’s just so competitive and just has that great attitude and spirit. She is a true competitor.”

No. 6 Clever 71, Lebanon 53
Pink & White Lady Classic
Pink Division – First-round game

CLEVER 71, LEBANON 53
LEBANON 9-17-9-18—53
CLEVER 16-17-27-11—71

LEBANON (4-3) – Jenna Glendenning 20, Chloe Shivers 9, Raegan McCowan 3, Makayah Alexander 13, Jocee Pettyjohn 4, Quincey Glendenning 2, Destiny Zimdars 2.
CLEVER (6-1) – Allie Clevenger 25, Carly Simpson 8, Mackenzie Simpson 15, Madison Gladney 5, Ruthie Brown 16, Hayden Stewart 2.
Up next: Lebanon vs. Hillcrest, 11 a.m., Friday, Weiser Gym; Clever vs. Nixa, 11 a.m., Friday, O’Reilly Family Event Center

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