Short-handed Lady Indians run out of gas against Lady Cougs
Just because a team may be short-handed roster-wise, that doesn't mean it has to be short-handed effort-wise.
The Izard County Consolidated Lady Cougars found this out first-hand in the quarterfinals of the A-AA brackets of the NEA Tournament Dec. 27 at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro.
Despite having just five players available for action, and ending the game with just four, the Delaplaine Lady Indians gave ICC all it wanted, before the Lady Cougars (14-3) regrouped to knock off Delaplaine 54-46 and earn a date with Marmaduke, which upset top-seeded East Poinsett County, in the tournament's semi-final round for the first time in school history.
Although the Delaplaine roster is stocked with seven players, two, including 5-11 post playing Karen Dodd, were absent because of illness.
Opening the contest with plans to keep the fifth-seeded Lady Cougs from running at will, the Lady Indians kept things at a deliberate pace.
ICC jumped in front on back-to-back hoops from Brittney Richardson and Sammi Fowler before Delaplaine could find the scoreboard. Richardson tossed in a game-high 26 for ICC while pulling down seven boards, with Fowler following close behind with 19 points and nine rebounds.
Richardson kicked in a couple of buckets near the end of the first period to give the Lady Cougars a 12-8 lead after one.
Undeterred, the Lady Indians simply reeled off 12 unanswered points midway into the second to pull in front 20-14.
Chelsie Yancey ended Delaplaine's spurt with a 3-ball, but the Lady Indians managed to hang onto the lead, 27-23, at intermission.
Delaplaine's first two hoops of the third period were treys, helping the Lady Indians extend their advantage to 33-25.
ICC kept chipping away thanks to Richardson and Fowler, and when the third frame closed, the Lady Cougars were within six, 40-34. A healthy dose of free throwing shooting also helped ICC's cause, as the Lady Cougs went 12-for-16 from the charity stripe on the night.
With no players on the bench to relieve their starters, the Lady Indians started to wear down in the fourth as ICC finally hit its stride.
With Delaplaine up 46-43, the Lady Cougars exploded on a 13-3 run over the course of the last 2:30 to keep the Lady Indians from pulling an upset.
Delaplaine's Courtney Curtis fouled out with 52 ticks left on the clock, forcing the Lady Indians to end the night with just four players, as ICC held on to win by eight points and advance to the semi-final round.
Brittney Bailey finished with two points and seven big rebounds for ICC.