Save for a three-minute dry spell in the third period, the Izard County Consolidated Lady Cougars might have made it to the semi-final round of the 19th annual George Kell Hall of Fame Classic in Swifton.
As it was, this drought proved to be more than the sixth-seeded Lady Cougs (17-6) could weather, as Pocahontas, the third seed, used this stretch to take control of their quarterfinal tilt with ICC Jan. 12, sending the Lady Cougars home with a 59-48 loss.
ICC gave the Lady Redskins, currently ranked number four in Class AAA hoops, fits for the first half of play, before the taller squad from Pocahontas used its size advantage to put the caps on the game.
With Pocahontas, who went on to knock off Sulphur Rock in the tourney finals, holding a slim 28-27 lead at the half, two straight buckets just inside the start of the third period, one by Chelsie Yancey, and one from Sammi Fowler (four points) gave the Lady Cougars the lead at 31-30 with 5:42 left in the third.
This was also the last time until the 2:48 mark in the third that ICC would post a point, as the Lady Redskins sprinted out to an 11-0 run, giving them control of the game by 10, 41-31.
Brittney Bailey (six points) and Fowler knocked in a bucket apiece late in the frame, but Pocahontas closed the book on the third with seven unanswered points, extending its margin to 48-35 after three. The Lady Redskins outscored ICC 15-8 in the decisive third period.
The Lady Redskins fed the ball to Laura Throesch on the baseline in the fourth, and she used her height to either get a bucket or earn a trip to the charity stripe, as Pocahontas finally wore down the game group of Lady Cougars from ICC by 11 points. Throesch led all scorers with 21 points on the evening.
Pocahontas jumped on top 7-0 to start the game before ICC's Brittney Richardson knocked in the first of her team-high 20 points in the game with a jumper at the 5:10 mark. Richardson earned All-Kell Classic honors for her play in the tournament.
Finding their stride late in the first, the Lady Cougars moved in front 17-13 after one with a 9-2 burst that featured five points from Lauren Cunningham (14 points).
Showing a renewed spark after their slow start to the game, ICC led by as many as six points in the second period before the Lady Redskins closed ground late.
Pulling ahead with an 8-4 run just before the half, the Lady Redskins had erased ICC's margin and led by a point, 28-27, at intermission.
Once it grabbed the lead in the third period, Pocahontas refused to be denied and kept ICC from pulling off the upset.
Christine Kocrich tallied two points for the Lady Cougars.
Cunningham exploded for 24 points as the Lady Cougars knocked 11th-seeded Maynard out of the tourney Jan. 10 with a tight 66-64 win.
ICC trailed by five points, 34-29, at the half, before coming alive in the second half to emerge with a 2-point victory.
Richardson added 19 points for the Lady Cougars, while Fowler hit for 14.