This year's Thayer Winter Classic girl's basketball tournament pitted a very competitive list of local teams for the 39th annual tournament, held Jan. 14-18, at the Thayer gymnasium.
Morgan Stone led the number one seated, Thayer Lady Bobcats in scoring, with 12 points, to kick off the Lady Bobcats' 78-35 win over the (8) Eminence Lady Redwings, in the first round game.
Six points from Josey Bush and 12 points from Breezy Walters had the (4) Koshkonong Lady Bluejay's on top of the (5) Mammoth Spring Lady Bears 41-35 at the end of three quarters, but a strong final quarter and a game high 12 points from Lady Bear Sammie Jo Honeycutt gave the Mammoth Spring Bears a one point lead late in the final minute for a 56-55 Mammoth Spring win.
The (2) Willow Springs Lady Bears made quick work out of their first round game vs. (7) the Lady Bulldogs from Cabool. With a seventeen point lead at halftime, the Willow Lady Bears easily advanced to the semi-final games with a 61-25 victory over the Lady Bulldogs.
The Couch Lady Indian's (6) took it to the (3) Bakersfield Lady Lions in the final game of first round action. Couch got 17 points from Senior guard Taylor Beal and 14 points in the paint from Taylor Emberton. The Lady Indians jumped out to a 15-9 lead at the end of one and a 28-17 lead at the half. The Lady Lions sank a three point shot at the buzzer, which shaved the Couch lead down to three points, 36-33, at the end of the third quarter. Free throws, ball control and team play gave the Couch Lady Indians an eight-point edge and rounded out the semifinal matchups, with a 51-43 Couch win over Bakersfield.
As an unexpected snow storm began to cover local area roads on Tuesday, Thayer school officials were forced to postpone Tuesday evening's semi-final "A" bracket games, and reschedule games in-between the "B" bracket games, Thursday night.
Koshkonong Lady Bluejay's blasted the Eminence Lady Redwings 75-38, and the Bakersfield Lady Lions knocked off the Cabool Lady Bulldogs to set up Friday's Consolation bracket championship game.
Thayer's Lady Bobcats overpowered the Mammoth Spring Lady Bears by 24 points, 65-41, to move the Lady Cats on to the championship game and Mammoth to the third-place game. The (2) Willow Springs Lady Bears picked up a semifinal win, 48-18, forcing the Couch Lady Indians into the third place matchup with Mammoth Spring on Friday night.
The Kosh Lady Bluejays had no answer for Bakersfield's junior ball handler, Kody Smith, and Betsy Minkler's buckets from the wing. The Lady Jays could not catch up with the scrappy Lady Lions, as Bakersfield won the consolation bracket by 16 over the Lady Bluejays, 66-50.
The 14-9 Mammoth Spring Lady Bears led after one against Couch, and held a 20-17 lead at the half. The Lady Indians got a score with less than 10 seconds remaining in the third, but sent Mammoth's Sydney Peck to the line to make two free throws, knotting the game at 28 The Lady Indians exploded for twenty six points in the fourth quarter, to jump ahead and maintain the 54-39 third place win over the Mammoth Spring Lady Bears.
The (2) Willow Springs Lady Bears and (1) Thayer Lady Bobcats squared off in the final game of the Winter Classic Tournament to determine championship bragging rights, and put the first place trophy in the schools cabinet. The Lady Bears held a five-point advantage 15-10 in the first quarter, but fell behind Willow Springs by as many as eleven points at one time in the second quarter, but battled back with strong play from Elly Burrell to trail Willow Springs by just six, 29-23, at the half break.
Thayer played tough in the third quarter, with Jordan Alford picking up the defensive pace and getting a couple of scores off of Bear turnovers, but the Willow Lady Bears still maintained a six point spread, 38-32, after three quarters.
The Thayer Lady Bobcats kept it close through excellent inside play from Earls and Hargrove and a fourth quarter boost off the bench from Laken Hollis. Elly Burrell hit a couple of free throws with under two minutes remaining to tie the score at 52, but the Willow Lady Bears put in six more while the Lady Cats netted only four as the clock wound down. The Willow Springs Lady Bears came away with a two point championship win and trophy, 58-56
Tournament highlight photos are available for purchase, under Photo Galleries on our Web site: www.areawidenews.com.