The Lady Owls had a strong showing on Tuesday night in the Horace Maynard tipoff tournament.
Playing a tough defending district champions in the Lady Red Devils, the Lady Owls used a 9-2 surge at the beginning of the third for a 22-13 advantage. LaFollette eventually went on to take the win, 33-28.
“My starters, and even our bench, we don’t have trouble scoring,” head coach Marsha Morton said. “You leave my kids open, and anybody I’ve got can score. That’s what you want when you have a good team. We don’t have trouble scoring.”
That proof rang true on Tuesday night. Julia Powell led all scorers as she neared a double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds.
“She’s always our offensive leader,” Morton said. “We can depend on her for that. She played one of the best games I’ve seen her play.”
Playing against Northwest on Monday night, Morton said her team had trouble on the defensive battle. One of the biggest problems was around the goal.
“I was impressed with (Julia’s) offense,” Morton said. “I knew she could do that. We had trouble Monday night getting people to box out. I just told them that either you box out and play defense, or you’re coming out and might not get back in. Julia and Bailey Rutherford both did an excellent job rebounding.”
Skylar Boshears and Kasi Phillips followed Powell’s 10 points with eight of their own. Bella Luna finished with three, while Carlie Baldwin and Kaitlyn Nelson each contributed two.
With so much scoring, the Lady Owls are hoping to take their district schedule with ease.
“Hopefully, we can be right at the top,” Morton said. “I told the girls that when you’ve got a team that everybody can contribute and score, that’s the teams that have went to the middle school state playoffs. We’ve got that caliber team if the girls want to work. I think we can be going to the playoffs this year.”
Certainly playing in the Horace Maynard tournament is only going to help those odds. Already, the Lady Owls have played two top caliber teams.
“It’s helped us,” Morton said. “I’ve been trying to get it across to the girls that when you play your better teams, you can’t take a break for a second. I think they realized that with Northwest the other night.
“I think it’s a good eye opener to play those tough teams early.”
For the Owls, their night didn’t go quite as planned.
The Red Devils of Horace Maynard used a second half surge to defeat the Owls 50-35 in the Horace Maynard tipoff tournament.
Going into the second half, the Red Devils grew their lead from 24-19 at intermission to a 19-point lead with minutes to go in the fourth. The Owls trailed 47-31.
A late LaFollette surge by Peyton Webb gave the game its final margin.
“We’ve just got to make better decisions,” LaFollette coach Michael Cain said. “We’re young, and that’s a learning process right now. We had an off night tonight, but it’ll get better. It’ll get better.”
Horace Maynard used three posts towering over six-feet to propel the Red Devils. Between the three posts, they combined for 35 points as all scored in double digits.
LaFollette was led by Webb’s game-high 19-point effort. Colby Bailey added 11, while Logan Berry added three and Justin Nelson two.
“Peyton’s hard to handle,” Cain said. “He works hard in practice and wants to get better, obviously. He’s kindly our go-to-guy right now. Dallas is still in his walking boot, injured. He was hard to stop tonight, but we’ve just got to recognize those opportunities a little better.”
Playing in this tough tipoff tournament is something Cain said is something his team is getting used too.
However, he said his team has to rise to that level of competition. With the district coming up, Cain said they couldn’t have bad nights.
“It’s a tough district,” he said. “It’ll be a tough district. If we play our best basketball, we can play with anybody. We can’t afford to have any off nights. We’ve got to play hard every night.”