Nevada Daily Mail
"I told them, 'You're going to have to quit giving me gray hairs.'" Nevada Lady Tigers head basketball coach Brent Bartlett might have a few more gray hairs on his head after Wednesday night's contest in which his squad shut down the Carthage Lady Tigers with near-perfect efficiency in the first half, only to see their lead slip away in the fourth quarter.
Bartlett's Lady Tigers had a 43-30 lead going into the final 8 minutes of the contest, but Carthage wasn't going down quietly. Head coach Jim Moore's squad took advantage of foul trouble and questionable ball handling decisions by the Lady Tigers to cut the lead to seven on two occasions, but that was as close as it got and Nevada ultimately held on to take the victory by a final score of 59-48.
"They're a good team," Bartlett said of Carthage. "They're a quick team, a team where you have to meet your passes. ...It was a great win against a good team."
Wednesday night's contest in pool play in the Nevada Lady Tiger Classic tournament was the second meeting between the two squads in as many weeks. In the first meeting, Bartlett's squad went to Carthage and beat Moore's Lady Tigers in one of the most difficult gyms in which Nevada has played this year by a final score of 52-48.
Two early 3-pointers by sophomore Morgan McNeley helped the Lady Tigers lead, 10-6, at the end of the first quarter and Nevada led by two at 25-23, at halftime in that contest that was played Friday night.
Senior Tori Dahmer scored all 12 of Nevada's points in the third quarter and the Lady Tigers led, 37-30, going into the fourth quarter. Carthage got no closer than four points down the stretch as Nevada picked up the win.
Dahmer led all scorers with 19 points and was joined in double figures by McNeley with 11 and Rilie Good with 10. Vanessa Pawlak led Carthage with 18 points.
Wednesday night's rematch had a lot riding on it for Carthage, not just because of the revenge element, but because a win would make a trip to the tournament championship game a near-certainty. Neither of those goals were realized, however, as Dahmer, McNeley and Good once again led a balanced offensive charge that also saw Kelsey McCall reach double figures for Nevada.
McNeley finished with a team-high 14 points, while Dahmer added 12 and Good and McCall each chipped in 10. Dahmer also finished the game with team-highs in blocks with two and rebounds with 13.
To make her performance even more impressive than the numbers themselves already did, Bartlett said Dahmer was playing at far less than 100 percent.
"She's sicker than a dog. She is so congested and stopped up," Bartlett said of the 5-foot-11-inch senior. "You know, the plan was to give her more breaks tonight and the Rilie got in foul trouble and I couldn't."
Dahmer wasn't the only one who refused to go down. Bartlett said nearly every player on his roster gave him reason to be impressed.
"I see our team making big improvements," he said. "Improving as a team, improving as individuals."
The most significant of those improvements that came Wednesday night was one that the Lady Tigers have been searching for all season long. Field goal shooting has been arguably the biggest struggle with which the Lady Tigers have had to contend, but that certainly wasn't the case Wednesday night as Bartlett's squad finished the contest shooting 58 percent from the field.
The Lady Tigers held a 33-17 lead at halftime, but as the minutes wore on, foul troubles and sloppy ball handling got the best of Bartlett's squad. By the time all was said and done, two Lady Tigers -- Good and Ashley Shumaker -- fouled out of the game.
"We've got to stay out of foul trouble. We couldn't rotate," Bartlett said. "A lot of girls played more minutes than what we wanted and I thought we got tired and then, we got sloppy with the basketball."
Carthage finished the game having forced a total of 24 turnovers, while committing 18, but simply couldn't dig out of that early hole, ultimately dropping the nine-point decision.
"The turnovers, I didn't like at all," Bartlett said. "I mean, just sloppy. Sloppy second half, missed free throws."
With the win, the Lady Tigers start the tournament 1-0 and could punch their ticket to the tournament championship tonight, with a win over the Lady Panthers of Raymore-Peculiar.
"We've got to get ready to go against a tough Ray-Pec team," Bartlett said. "They're scrappy and tenacious and we've got to be ready to go."
Blue Valley Southwest 60, Joplin 29
Hunter Thomas led the Timberwolves with 16 points in a 60-29 victory over the Lady Eagles of Joplin Wednesday night in Nevada Lady Tiger Classic pool play.
The Lady Eagles never really were in the contest as they scored just 13 points in the opening half to go to the locker room down by 15. From that point on, the Timberwolves cruised, ultimately securing their first win of the tournament with ease.
Thomas was joined in double figures by Brityn Like, who finished the night with 11 points. For Joplin, Bailey Taylor led the offensive effort with 14.
Blue Valley Southwest will be back in action Friday, against Republic, while Joplin will now wait to see who it will face in Saturday's fifth-place game.