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Friday, May 6, 2016

Lady Bears regional runners-up

Thursday, March 5, 2009

(Photo)
MOVE: Jessy Jo Vest rolls toward the hoop in the regional tournament finals. Photo/Sparks
The 51-39 victory over the Bay Lady Yellowjackets at the Class 1A Region 2 Tournament on Feb. 27 locked up a trip to Greers Ferry Westside and the state tournament for the Mammoth Spring Lady Bears.

It also gave them a chance for a regional title, but Hillcrest held up better to the treacherous five-day tournament, relegating Mammoth Spring to the runner-up role with a 49-39 victory.

The Lady Bears were scheduled to meet Blevins in the Class 1A State Tournament.

"I'm very proud of my kids. They played hard all year. They just kept pounding. Day in and day out of practice they just kept working hard," said Lady Bear Head Coach Crystal Martin. "This is what hard work gets you. We're going to get a chance to go to the state tournament and compete and that's what we wanted."

Jessy Jo Vest knocked down two free throws to give Mammoth Spring the early lead, but the Lady Bears failed to score again until Jamie Bellows' basket-plus-one at the three-minute mark.

Bay was up 9-5, but Vest finished the period with five points to cut the score to 11-10.

Tiffany Angotti, Bianca Paige and Sierra Smoot propelled the Lady Bears to a 18-11 advantage before Bay went on an 11-4 run to close the half tied 22-all.

There were four lead changes and two ties in the third as each team battled for a trip to the finals.

Amy Young's three third quarter treys gave Mammoth a four-point lead, 36-32, which they would make insurmountable.

"She hit three huge shots in that quarter. We pressed them. I didn't think Bay was as fast as us and I think we just wore them down," said Martin. "It finally took a hold there in the fourth quarter and we went ahead and pushed it on, got some easy shots off our press."

With momentum on their side, the Lady Bears didn't let up. They had three steals in the fourth -- their sixth of the half -- and Paige had six points to secure the win.

Angotti led the team with 12, Young had 11 and Bellows 10.

The final game against Hillcrest was evenly-matched through the first half, but Lady Bears tired and were not able to make a shot or handle the ball.

Paige hit Mammoth Spring's only bucket of the third as the Lady Eagles took control of the game, 35-26.

"I think we got down six or eight points and I could tell our legs were not there. We've played the last three out of four days," explained Martin. "I know that you get to this time of the season you've either got to play or you go home. We lost our defensive intensity and Hillcrest is about our same speed and they out ran us down the floor quite a few times and got some easy buckets to jump ahead."

Mammoth Spring scored on five consecutive possessions in the middle of the first quarter. Paige had seven points to lead the Lady Bears to a 13-12 lead.

Shelby Frey's two buckets at the end of the second gave Mammoth Spring a 24-22 advantage.

In the fourth, the Lady Bears gave it a valiant effort with five players scoring, but they couldn't overcome the third-period drought.

Paige led the team with 14 points.

The Lady Bears opened tournament play by upsetting the Weiner Lady Cardinals, the top seed from the 1A-3 East, 62-51 Feb. 25.

Down 14-12 at the end of the first period, Mammoth Spring made its move in the second period.

Smoot (10 points) drilled back-to-back treys to give the Lady Bears a 25-23 lead. Jamie Bellows added a layup and Mammoth Spring took a 27-23 lead to intermission.

Then in the third, the Lady Bears broke things wide open.

Vest (21 points) tossed in a bucket in the paint. Paige (10 points) added a trey, Vest hit another hoop down low and Smoot hit a layup for a 9-zip Lady Bear run, giving Mammoth Spring a 36-23 advantage.

Weiner closed the third with a big 7-0 run, but the Lady Bears stood in front 45-37 after three.

This turned out to be more than enough to give Mammoth Spring a huge 62-51 victory.

Young finished with 10 points for the Lady Bears, while Angotti added six and Frey three.

Madison Craft scored 18 points to pace the Lady Cardinals.



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