By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
BALDWYN – Both the Mooreville Lady Troopers and the Itawamba AHS Lady Indians had defensive game plans they tried to execute against each other Tuesday.
The Lady Indians’ constant full-court tempo won out eventually as Itawamba hung on for a 49-42 victory in action at the Baldwyn Rotary Classic at Baldwyn High School.
“We picked it up again in the second half,” Itawamba coach Amanda Morrow said. “That was the key to the game.”
Despite the Lady Indians’ constant pressure, Mooreville (8-7) was able to carve out enough offense early, with a pair of Anna West baskets helping the Lady Troopers to an 11-9 lead through the first quarter.
In the second quarter, a three-point play by Quay Dunn, followed by an Abby Rodgers 3-pointer pushed Itawamba (13-1) to a 22-18 lead.
Rodgers then closed the period with a 3-pointer, and a Rebecca Cleveland free throw had the Lady Indians leading 31-24 at the half.
Mooreville did not fade away, and a pair of free throws to open the fourth quarter by Lauren Lewis had the Lady Troopers within 38-37. Mooreville was still within 41-40 with 4 minutes, 23 seconds to play following a Katie Cobb free throw.
But from that point, Itawamba’s hard work paid off. A basket by Laken McKnatt gave the Lady Indians some breathing room, then a layup by Ally McDonald with 32 seconds remaining iced the win for IAHS.
“Too many turnovers,” Mooreville coach Kala Parker said. “Defensively, we did exactly what we planned, as Fulton has a good outside shooting team.
“I knew we were going to get pressed, I expected us to handle it better.”
McKnatt paced the Itawamba offense with 13 points, while Cobb was tops for Mooreville with 12.
“Mooreville played hard tonight,” said Morrow, whose Lady Indians can now officially look forward to facing highly touted New Albany Tuesday. “We’re excited about playing that game.”
(B) Mooreville 53, Itawamba 45
There were six lead changes in the fourth quarter of this contest, with Itawamba taking its last lead at 45-44 with 1:44 to play on a P.J. Head basket.
Mooreville (11-4) responded with a dunk by Javon Berry, followed by a layup by Austin Tucker with 1:02 left.
Itawamba held a 22-19 lead, and Mooreville held a 33-31 advantage after the third quarter.
Quadzing Rodgers led Mooreville with 16, and Jimmy Ruff totaled 14 for Itawamba.