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Double-threat too much for Mammoth Spring

Thursday, March 9, 2006

The Mammoth Spring Lady Bears have seen their share of high-powered tandems on the hardwood this season.

Hillcrest's Breanna Doyle and Jessica Broadway.

Izard County Consolidated's Sammi Fowler and Brittney Richardson.

Viola's Jaime Dailey and Micah Thompson.

But nothing could have prepared the Lady Bears for what awaited them in the first round of the Class A State Tournament at the Prescott Sports Arena Feb. 28.

Scotland's Brittany Labat and Whitney Biggs.

The Lady Bulldogs' Brittany/Whitney show combined to score all but 13 of Scotland's points on the afternoon, as the Lady Bulldogs edged past Mammoth Spring 73-64.

There was just too much Labat in the first half, as she scored 20 of her 30 points for the contest in the first two periods, while there was just too much Biggs in the second half, as she scored 24 of her 30 points for the game in the last two periods.

Despite the big games from the Lady Bulldogs' big guns, Mammoth Spring was very much in control for a large chunk of the game before Scotland pulled away late.

The Lady Bears (21-12) led by as many as nine points in the third period, even though Ann Whiteside was only on the floor for a little more than two minutes of the third, after she picked up her fourth foul at the 6:03 point of the frame.

Mammoth Spring held a 50-45 advantage after three, and its lead stood at five in the fourth, 54-49, when Scotland (28-5) made a late charge.

Kicking out six straight points, the Lady Bulldogs took their first lead of the second half, 55-54, with 4:51 left in the game.

Back-to-back hoops from Whiteside (15 points) and Melanie Maguffee (eight points) gave Mammoth Spring the lead back, but it turned out to be just momentarily.

Scotland closed the game with a 15-4 burst over the course of the last three minutes, including nine points from Biggs, to come from behind and top the Lady Bears by nine points. Mammoth Spring was at a bit of a disadvantage during this stretch, as Whiteside fouled out with 2:39 left to play, and she was followed by starting guard Jodie Walsh who fouled out at the 1:44 point.

The Lady Bears got off to a solid start in the game's first two minutes, while it took Scotland a while to get going.

The Lady Bulldogs had two turnovers and a shot blocked by Jonnie Bellows in their first four possessions of the afternoon.

Ashley Walsh (10 points) hit a jumper to start the action for Mammoth Spring, and Whiteside hit the first of her two old-fashioned 3-point plays in the game's first eight minutes.

With the Lady Bears up 5-2, Courtney Risner (10 points) tacked on three more points with a triple at the 6:10 mark. Scotland opened the game with a full-court press, but it did little to impede Mammoth Spring in the first period, as the Lady Bears grabbed a six-point lead midway into the frame.

It was about this time that Labat began to heat up for the Lady Bulldogs.

She knocked down three 3-pointers in the last four minutes of the first, capping an 11-2 run deep in the stanza that gave Scotland an 18-15 lead after one. Labat's last trey of the first came with eight ticks on the clock, and she nearly added insult to injury when she swiped the ball and heaved it at the goal from midcourt. Her shot rimmed out as the horn sounded, leaving Scotland on top by three.

Mammoth Spring regained the lead at 23-20 midway into the second period by stomping off eight straight points, including four free throws from Kylee Busch (12 points) and a 3-ball from Risner at the 4:48 mark.

Kayly Vest (nine points) chipped in with a triple of her own a minute later, pushing the Lady Bears out to a 30-24 lead.

The Lady Bears went on a late 4-0 run in the second, but Labat ended up having the last say for Scotland in the first half by jacking another 3-pointer at the buzzer, her fourth of the half, to keep the Lady Bulldogs within seven, 37-31, at the half.

The Lady Bears were wise to Labat's ways in the second half, as Mammoth Spring held her scoreless from behind the arc and even blocked two of her 3-point attempts in the last two periods.

However, while Labat was quiet from behind the stripe in the last half, Biggs wasn't. Biggs racked up four 3-pointers in the second half.

Although Biggs heated up, beginning in the third, the Lady Bears still held control, building their biggest lead of the night.

Vest opened the third with a trifecta that boosted Mammoth Spring's advantage to 40-31.

Scotland responded by ripping off seven unanswered points, pulling within a deuce.

Risner put the brakes on the Lady Bulldogs' run with a trey at the 4:43 point.

While Whiteside was sidelined due to foul trouble late in the third, the Lady Bears continued to put pressure on Scotland, and Mammoth Spring closed the third with a 50-45 lead.

As it turned out, Scotland managed to stay close enough to finally pull ahead for good late in the fourth, knocking the Lady Bears out of the state tournament with a push deep in the fourth period.



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