Monday, February 27, 2017

Tiger Girls Erase 11 Years of Futility at Districts; Down East Harrison

Worth County’s girls had 11 years of futility to contend with at districts; the last time they had won a district match was in 2006, when Tiffany Troutwine was a senior. Just like the Cubs, when a team has a monkey of that nature on its back, it sometimes is difficult to get it off.

The Tigers had every reason to expect a running clock against East Harrison, but for once, Bill Pottorff’s Bobcats were not playing the numbers game and were able to get better as the season progressed. They had lost by the running clock to both Worth County and North Nodaway earlier in the year. But by district time, they were much closer to matching up with the Tigers. They will have nine out of their ten players back for next year, including both of their leading scorers in Natayla Selby and Lauryn Waddle. Waddle, in particular, had scored 31 points in a game earlier this year. If they can develop some quality freshmen, they will have a good foundation for the next few years.
It started off easily enough for Worth County as they scored the first five points of the game as Kaylee McElvain scored off a drive off a pass from Anna Gladstone and Payton Adwell hit a free throw and added another drive at the 4:58 mark. Despite Adwell, Gladstone, and Regan Allee all picking up two fouls in the first five minutes of the game, they continued to pull away, leading 13-7 after one quarter.

Worth County continued to build on that lead early in the second quarter. Payton Adwell and Anna Gladstone got putbacks as the Tigers worked the offensive glass well during that stretch. Anna Gladstone cut inside and got a pass from Kristin New, and Adwell added a free throw to make it 20-8 with 5:29 left.

But then East Harrison came right back. There were two differences in the two games between the two teams. The first was that they got a lot more point production out of their other three players, meaning Selby and Waddle didn’t have to carry the whole load. Kristin New played lights-out defense on Selby, but everyone else stepped up for East Harrison. The other was that their defense was much stingier; they were poking away at the ball and getting a lot more steals. Worth County was rushing the ball at breakneck speed against the Bobcats during the next stretch; it would have worked the first time, but it didn’t work this time. As a result, East Harrison came back to close to within 20-15 as Selby scooped up a carom and hit from the high post.

Regan Allee, who had missed everything up to that point, and who had faced a box and one like she had against South Harrison, suddenly connected with a triple as Jessi Badell came off the bench to stop the bleeding for Les New’s Tigers. Badell then hit Kaylee McElvain for a backdoor look and then scored off one herself off a pass from McElvain to put Worth County back up 27-15 at the half. It was the kind of strong post play that Coach New had been looking for all year from his Tigers.
Badell continued to carry the Tigers during the first three minutes of the third quarter, swatting a pair of shots. Anna Gladstone got loose on two transition looks and Regan Allee took a charge on defense as the Tiger lead grew to 31-15.

But then Gladstone picked up her third foul and East Harrison isolated Waddle at will for the remaining five minutes as the Bobcats fought back to within 12 at 42-30; she had seven of her team’s 15 points in the frame. Badell also picked up her third foul. Worth County continued to hit as Allee got untracked with a triple and a pair of free throws. Anna Gladstone came back in despite her three fouls and added a transition look. But underrated guard Alyssa Andrew’s coast to coast look cut Worth County’s lead to 10 before Kaylee McElvain’s high post shot put the Tigers back in front by 12 with 8 seconds left in the third.

McElvain’s putback made it 44-30 to start the fourth, but then once again, East Harrison got a lucky bounce of a loose ball and Klarissa Roberts was there to scoop it up and put it in to spark another Bobcat run. Pottorff’s team continued to isolate Waddle as they closed down to eight at 44-36 with 5:09 left, still plenty of time.

Neither side could score for the next three minutes after Badell hit a free throw to make it 45-36 as Worth County took boatloads of time off the clock and East Harrison couldn’t find the range. But then the Bobcats picked up another lucky carom and Roberts hit from the high post and added a drive to make it 45-40 with 1:37 left.

But then Worth County’s ballhandling saved the day in the closing seconds. The Tigers ran it down to 1:10 on their next possession, Roberts fouled out, and Anna Gladstone banked home a free throw to make it 46-40. East Harrison had a chance to make it one possession with a triple, but lost it out of bounds and Worth County ran some more time off, getting it down to 38 seconds before Regan Allee missed a 1-1. But Kaylee McElvain got a steal off the outlet, Jessi Badell was there for the layup, and Worth County was up 48-40 with 38 seconds left. East Harrison missed two tries to make it closer, and Kristin New scored her first two points of the game, two free throws, to ice it with 12.2 seconds left.

Anna Gladstone had 15 to lead the Tigers. Jessi Badell had 9, Regan Allee had 8, Kaylee McElvain had 8, Payton Adwell had 6, Sidney Troutwine had 2, and Kristin New had 2. The Tigers have faced several box and one defenses this year, but have been able to find production from their other four players in recent games.

The game also clinched a .500 season for the Tigers, as they moved to 13-12 on the season as they went into the semifinal game.

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