Lady Owls close strong for road win
SEDALIA -- The Marshall girls' basketball team saw a sizable lead get away, but didn't become rattled by it during a 45-40 non-conference victory Thursday at Smith-Cotton.
Junior Hannah Heuman drained a pair of three-pointers as the Lady Owls closed the first period with an 11-0 run after giving up the game's opening basket. However, after playing "very strong defense, making everything tough" for the Lady Tigers during the first quarter, Marshall head coach Jeff Martin said girls "became their own worst enemy" over the next two frames.
"We became undisciplined on the defensive end and committed several defensive fouls that were unnecessary," Martin explained -- pointing to Smith-Cotton's 11-of-13 performance from the free-throw line during the second quarter.
After making only two of 19 field-goal attempts during the first half, the Lady Tigers found their stroke. Senior Ashley Banaka struck twice from outside to pull the Sedalia gang even in the final minute of the third period.
After two tie scores, freshman Courtney Henley scored with just over five minutes remaining. She then hit two more mid-range jumpers to put the Lady Owls six points ahead with under two minutes to go.
Less-than-adequate free-throw shooting, three of eight, down the stretch allowed Smith-Cotton to hang around -- but the home team made only two of nine tries from the field after Marshall regained the lead and didn't get to the charity stripe during the second half.
Banaka led the Lady Tigers (5-19) with 15 points, tying Heuman for game-high honors.
The Lady Owls (10-13) will try to wrap up third place in the NCMC -- Mexico nailed down the title Thursday with a 65-53 victory over visiting Moberly -- when they host Kirksville for Courtwarming today.