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Lady Horns top visitors from across the border

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

GRAB IT: Viola's Dedra Johnston (40) and Michaela Thompson (34) battle for a rebound in the Lady Horns' win over Bakersfield. Photo/Mullins
In a battle of Final Four teams from a year ago, the Viola Lady Longhorns topped the visiting Bakersfield, Mo., Lady Lions 55-31 Jan. 26 at the Longhorn Corral.

Later in the evening, Bakersfield made sure it would carry one victory back across the border, as the Lions knocked off the Longhorns 57-47.

In the girls' clash, Viola, which made the Class 1A State Tournament's Final Four a year ago, used a big push late in the third and early in the fourth to turn a close game against the Lady Lions, who earned a trip to the Class 1 Show-Me Showdown in Columbia a year ago, into a lop-sided win for the Lady Horns.

With Michaela Thompson (18 points), who had been a force earlier in the game, on the bench with four fouls and her team up by just four points, Heather Simmons hit a big 3-ball near the end of the third to give the Lady Longhorns a 37-30 after three.

Viola's reign of 3-pointers didn't end there, however.

Leslie Barker (11 points) opened the final frame by drilling back-to-back triples, extending Viola's lead to 13, 43-30.

While they were proficient on offense late in the game, the Lady Longhorns were also deadly on defense. Viola held Bakersfield to one point in the fourth, as the Lady Lions just could not get on track.

Taylor Griggs capped the game with three straight buckets, helping the Lady Horns to a 24-point rout of Bakersfield. Griggs led all scorers with a game-high 21 points in the contest.

The first half was tight going, although Viola did hold a 12-5 lead after one.

Thompson established herself on the low blocks early in the game, catching lobs from Griggs and turning them into easy hoops in the paint. Thompson scored six points in the first period.

The Lady Lions got focused early in the second and used an 11-2 run to take a 16-14 lead with five minutes left until the half.

But Griggs heated up from the baseline and nailed a pair of 3-balls late to help Viola get the lead back, 24-18.

Bakersfield pulled within two at the half, 24-22, by posting the last two shots of the second period.

The Lady Lions briefly held the lead early in the third before Viola started to gradually pull away.

Dedra Johnston finished with two points for the Lady Longhorns.

Lia Fienhold led Bakersfield with eight points, while Shelby Belt finished with six.

On the boys' side of things, the Longhorns fell behind early, caught up with Bakersfield and then fell behind late, losing by 10 points to the Lions.

Jordan Cotter (eight points) and Dylan Holestine (seven points) hit Viola's only two hoops in the first period, as Bakersfield sped out to a 15-4 lead after one.

It was 18-4 early in the second as Dakota Ellison (20 points) opened the frame with a 3-pointer for Bakersfield.

But Blake Baumunk started working hard inside the lane and hit four hoops in a row to help Viola close ground. Baumunk posted a team-high 15 points for the Horns.

With the Lions in front 23-16 at the three-minute mark, Viola closed the half on a flurry.

Baumunk hit a shot down low. Jacob Payne (four points) racked up a steal and layup. Ethan Houghtaling (10 points) hit a free throw.

When Matt Prinner stuck back a missed shot right before the buzzer, the Longhorns had managed to claw back with a 7-zip burst to knot things at 23-all.

Things were close in the third until Bakersfield broke free with a 10-2 burst to end the frame.

Cory Lamb (13 points) and Jacob Shrable (17 points) each knocked down 3-pointers in the Lions' period-ending run, helping Bakersfield to a 40-30 advantage after three.

The Lions made this lead hold up down the stretch in the fourth by going six-for-six from the charity stripe in the last three minutes of play, giving Bakersfield a 57-47 win.

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