The Thayer Lady Bobcats opened South Central Association play on a positive note, winning 42-35 at Mountain Grove Dec. 22.
Thayer opened up a 10-point lead early, but the Lady Panthers kept churning and pulled within four points of the Lady Bobcats in the fourth period. However, the Lady Cats went on a late 6-3 run to stave off Mountain Grove.
A similar run late in the first period established first-half control for Thayer.
Holding a 6-2 advantage, the Lady Cats added padding to this cushion with six straight points.
Samantha Oakes tossed in four points during this run, while Micah Stevens contributed the other two. Stevens paced Thayer with a game-high 19 points.
Kristen Earls (seven points) closed the book on the first period with a jumper that gave Thayer a 14-4 lead after one.
Mountain Grove went scoreless from the floor in the first period, with four free throws all the Lady Panthers had to show for the game's first eight minutes.
Things were a bit different in the second for Mountain Grove, as the Lady Panthers warmed up a little.
On the other side of things, Thayer went cold and posted just seven points in the second.
With the Lady Bobcats on top 21-11, Mountain Grove scored the last seven points of the first half to pull within three, down 21-18, at intermission.
Mountain Grove continued this roll early in the third and caught up with Thayer to lock the contest at 25-all.
But then Thayer got busy.
Earls hit a free throw and Lacey Hawkins and Stevens banged in back-to-back triples to re-establish the lead for Thayer at 32-25.
Mountain Grove edged within four points in the last eight minutes of play, but Thayer refused to yield and ended the evening with a seven-point road victory over the Lady Panthers. Kaley Hebert tallied eight points for the Lady Bobcats, while Lauren Hargus had three.