Lady 'Hounds seek third straight Battle title
LEETON -- The Sweet Springs girls' basketball team will get a crack at its third championship in a row of the Battle on the Hardwood at Leeton.
The second-seeded Lady Greyhounds secured the finals spot Wednesday with a 48-32 decision over No. 3 LaMonte in their second pool game. It's the fourth straight year Sweet Springs has played for the title, and will meet Crest Ridge -- which it beat 53-45 in 2013 before winning by forfeit a year ago.
A 13-4 second quarter staked the Lady 'Hounds to a 12-point halftime lead, and they gradually pulled away from there.
Sophomore Maya Martin led the Lady Vikings (13-4) by scoring nine points off the bench.
Senior Nicole Bright had 16 points and junior Kortnee Vaught added 15 for Sweet Springs (12-7), which has won its last five games.
Meanwhile, the Greyhounds are out of the running for a boys' finals berth after falling to Ballard on Wednesday, 68-53. The Bulldogs (5-11) won both of their pool contests to advance to the first-place showdown.
This was a battle between sharpshooting seniors, but Ballard's Ben Osborn got more help to go with his 27 points -- senior James Engelhardt and junior T.J. Sickels each tallying 14.
Sweet Springs got 23 points from senior Andrew Krause.
The 'Hounds will play for fifth place Friday following a 46-44 loss Thursday to Crest Ridge.
After trailing most of the game, Sweet Springs went ahead on senior Austin Boland's lay-up with 40 seconds left, but senior Justin Donald answered with a three-pointer for the Cougars.
After the 'Hounds missed two free throws, Crest Ridge made one for a three-point spread. Sweet Springs was fouled with three seconds to go, junior Austin Knipmeyer making the first one and intentionally missing the next, but the 'Hounds couldn't get the ball back.
Junior Garrett Hoepner had a game-high 20 points for the Cougars (6-11).
Krause's 18 points led Sweet Springs, which will play LaMonte for fifth place Friday.
BRECKENRIDGE -- The Malta Bend boys' and girls' teams enjoyed a rare sweep on the road Wednesday at Breckenridge.
It was a close call for the Tigers in the nightcap, but they pulled out a 53-52 win. The Bulldogs (0-14) trailed by four points going into the fourth quarter, but sophomore Wesley Pratt scored 18 of his game-high 33 points during that frame -- but was unable to convert after his team held for a last-second shot.
Malta Bend (4-10) stayed in front due to junior Larry Edde's 13 points down the stretch. He finished with 17 points and sophomore Lucas Eberting provided 15.
The Lady Tigers didn't have nearly as much trouble of disposing of Breckenridge (0-16), especially with freshman Lynzi Miller scoring 31 points.
Malta Bend led by 10 points after the opening period and 21-7 at halftime, continuing to build a cushion throughout the second half.
Sophomore Taylor Burton contributed 10 points for the Lady Tigers (5-9).
Malta Bend will be at home Friday to face Calhoun.
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