Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
WARDSVILLE, Mo. — The Blair Oaks girls basketball team had an answer for the first few surges made Tuesday by Fulton. The last one, however, did them in.
The Lady Hornets scored all but five of the game’s final 25 points to defeat the Lady Falcons 49-33.
“We stayed on pace with them for at least two and a half quarters,” Blair Oaks coach Kevin Kohler said, “and then we kind of fell off. Down the stretch we just kind of fell flat with our offense.”
NaShayla Brandt had a double-double for Fulton, pulling in 10 rebounds and scoring 10 points to surpass the 1,000-point mark for her career.
“That’s a nice reward for her,” Kohler said. “Yeah, she’s a good player. … She’s just a real strong girl.”
The Lady Falcons jumped out to a 5-2 lead on a Sydney Wilde bucket, a Kellie Fredendall free throw and a Cassidy Prenger putback. Fulton’s Sloane Totta hit a 3-pointer to tie it, however, and the Lady Falcons would not lead again.
Not that the Lady Hornets ran away with it by any means. They jumped out to a five-point lead twice but Blair Oaks caught up to them at 16 with 1:38 left in the first half, tying the game for the first time since the first quarter.
The teams entered halftime tied at 18 before Fulton began to inch away again, building its lead to 25-21. The Lady Falcons responded, though, pulling within 29-28 on Brooke Boessen’s second field goal of the third quarter.
It was then the Lady Hornets made their biggest surge.
Fulton hit 11 free throws in the fourth quarter, five by Totta. The Lady Hornets finished the game with 20 attempts at the line to Blair Oaks’ five.
“It’s just all about the free throws,” Kohler said. “Anytime you’re 18-for-20, you’re probably going to win. And the other team only shoots five free throws? That’s quite an advantage. So they made 15 (more) free throws, that’s about the difference in the score.”
The Falcons, meanwhile, scored just five points in the game’s final 9:50.
“We have to find a way to manufacture points,” Kohler said. “That’s been the story for the season.”
The statistical lines were otherwise fairly even, with both teams hitting just 14 shots from the field. Fulton had 28 rebounds to Blair Oaks’ 27 and three made 3-pointers to the Lady Falcons’ two.
Totta scored a game-high 15 points, and Rachel Guse had 14. Prenger led Blair Oaks with eight points on 5-of-8 shooting.
Freshmen Kayla Jones and Makenna Kliethermes each made their only 3-point attempt.
“I still think we haven’t played our best game yet,” Kohler said.
Blair Oaks (2-3) hosts St. James on Thursday.