Although it took them a lot of effort and a lot of energy to do so, the Izard County Lady Cougars managed to survive two first-half scoring spurts the Kirby Lady Trojans uncorked on them in the opening round of Class 1A State Tournament play Feb. 26 at Pioneer Pavilion on the campus of North Arkansas College in Harrison.
But though the effort and energy was still there in the second half, the Lady Cougars just could not withstand spurt number three from Kirby, and the Lady Trojans went on to post a 49-23 victory over Izard County.
The Lady Cougars (13-19) held a 4-1 lead in the game's early-going, thanks to back-to-back layups from Keressa Campbell. She led Izard County with 11 points and five rebounds for the game.
But then Kirby (34-5) hit the Lady Cougars with run number one.
Cassi McCauley hit a 3-pointer to start a period-ending 11-1 burst for the Lady Trojans.
Mandi Whisenhunt and Aspen Fant also chipped in with treys during this stretch, giving Kirby a 12-5 lead after one.
The Lady Trojans wasted no time in unfurling run number two, a 7-0 burst to start the second period.
Down 19-5, Izard County responded with a pair of hoops from Campbell to help weather the storm.
Rachel Harmon (seven points) and Leathyr Spangler then racked up the last two field goals of the first half to keep Izard County within striking distance, down 23-13 at intermission. This after the Lady Cougars had trailed by 14 at one point in the second period.
But this 10-point hole quickly turned into a 20-point chasm early in the third.
The Lady Trojans hit the first four baskets of the second half, including back-to-back 3-pointers, to open up a 33-13 advantage with 2:28 left in the third.
Izard County did fashion a nice answer in the last two minutes of the stanza, with Trish Arnold (four points), Campbell and Haley Crotts (six points) all logging hoops.
But that was just not enough to stem the tide this time, and Kirby held a 35-19 lead after three.
The Lady Trojans only outscored Izard County 14-13 in the fourth period, but Kirby had built enough of a cushion to advance in the tourney with a 49-32 victory over the Lady Cougs.
Lane Norvold tallied two points for Izard County.
McCauley led the Lady Trojans with a game-high 19 points.