Judd, defense lead West Plains past El Dorado Springs

By Denise Tucker (For OzarksSportsZone.com)

After getting down early in the game, the West Plains Lady Zizzers used their signature defense to get back in the contest before pulling away for a 57-35 White Division quarterfinal victory over El Dorado Springs on Tuesday night at Drury University’s O’Reilly Family Event Center.

El Dorado Springs jumped out to a 4-0 lead and then went on a 9-0 run for a 13-2 advantage in the first quarter, powered Macie Mays’ 11 points, which included three 3-pointers. But the Lady Zizzers used a 6-0 run to close out the quarter and pull within five points (13-8).

Mays kept the hot hand for the Lady Bulldogs by adding seven more points in the second quarter, while West Plains senior Ashton Judd was able to break free for eight points and six rebounds as the Lady Zizzers trimmed El Dorado Springs’ lead to three at halftime (22-19).

“I was just really proud; the girls never wavered,” West Plains coach Scott Womack said. “They showed a lot of grit and just kept fighting. I thought early in the game, we were getting outhustled, and they (El Dorado Springs) were getting all the loose balls, getting all the offensive boards. We weren’t ready, I don’t think, for their physical play. But I thought the girls settled down and showed a lot of a grit and just kept finding a way back, and we said it was going to happen on the defensive end.”

But it started with the offense in the second half for the Lady Zizzers as Georgia Osborn hit a 3 from the baseline to tie the game at 22. Judd picked up an El Dorado Springs turnover and took it the length of the court to give West Plains (9-1) its first lead of the game (24-22) with 6:39 to go in the third quarter.

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS OF THE GAME

A West Plains 6-0 run later, and the Lady Zizzers found themselves on top 30-22 before Reese Schaaf snapped the streak with a pull-up jumper on the baseline to pull within 30-24.

While the Lady Zizzers’ offense got untracked, their defense locked down and held the Lady Bulldogs to four third-quarter points – all from Reese Schaaf – while pouring in 19 of their own for a 38-26 lead going into the fourth quarter.

“I think we started cracking down on getting out on the shooters and keeping them from a limited range,” said Judd, who led all scorers with 29 points, while pulling down 17 rebounds. “And I think we also started rebounding a lot better. They were killing us in the first half on the boards, and I think rebounds and turnovers can really control a game and we cracked down on our turnovers as well. So, those things definitely helped.”

Mays, who scored 18 first-half points, was held to three in the second half and West Plains outscored El Dorado Springs, which fell to 6-2, 38-13 in the second half.

“We talked about how we’re going to need some other people to step up,” El Dorado Springs coach Beau Swopes said. “I felt like we still got some pretty good looks in there, they just didn’t fall for us. And some of that could be legs and playing back-to-back nights, but that’s some things that we have to just figure out.

“They did a great job offensively against us. They found some matchups and found some backdoors against us that kind of hurt us. And, of course, Judd played a great game and did some great things for them. But it’s all going to make us better. We came here to play some of the best teams, and I feel like we played one of the best teams of southwest Missouri tonight.”

And after being the No. 1 seed last year, being seeded fifth didn’t seem to bother Judd.

“I personally like being kind of the underdog,” Judd said. “I think we got slighted a little bit, but it’s not a big deal for us. I think it’s a good way to use it as motivation. We’re just trying to win games.”

(5) WEST PLAINS 57, (4) EL DORADO SPRINGS 35
Pink and White Lady Classic
White quarterfinal

WEST PLAINS 8-11-19-19—57
EL DORADO SPRINGS 13-9-4-9—35

(5) WEST PLAINS (9-1) – Georgia Osborn 6, Allyssa Joyner 12, Ashton Judd 29, Olivia Lawson 4, Kaylea Dixon 6.
(4) EL DORADO SPRINGS (6-2) – Macie Mays 21, Reese Schaaf 11, Alex Collins 3.

Up next: White Division semifinal – West Plains vs. Georgetown, Texas, 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, O’Reilly Family Event Center; El Dorado Springs vs. Central, 8:30 p.m., (fifth-place semifinal) Weiser Gym

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