A lone ranger was nearly enough to gun down Marshfield, but the Lady Jays dodged a bullet and pulled past Logan-Rogersville at home Thursday for a 49-43 win.
Gracie Kibby scored all but four of the Lady Wildcats’ 30 points in the first three quarters, providing an ample chance to leave Marshfield with victory.
“Obviously you have to focus on that kid because she’s a capable scorer, but we know [Lauren Williams] is really tough as well,” Lady Jays head coach Katie Pritchard said. “When you have one inside and outside each who are tough, it makes it difficult to focus on one kid. I think we did make it a point in the fourth that, Kori [Cromer], whoever, you’re sticking on her. We had to make that adjustment in the fourth quarter after she had the game she did.”
With each team locked at a 16-16 intermission tie, Kibby willed Rogersville to its first 10 points of the second half, including a triple aided by a perimeter ball screen to push her team ahead, 26-21. It required yeoman’s work from Lauren Leubbert (15 points) through offensive rebounding to provide points in the paint and erase the visitors’ advantage at a critical point in the third.
“They were very timely,” Pritchard said of her freshman’s efforts. “She got those rebounds at a time when things weren’t going our way, and she battled through and made some plays for us, not just scoring, but momentum-wise. We needed someone to pick us up like that.”
After Kibby and Abby McBride stroked 3-pointers to tie the game at 30 entering the fourth, the Lady Jays were the better side the final eight minutes, just as they were in the opening period. Marshfield started the last period on a 9-0 run and held Rogersville scoreless until Williams ended the drought on a jumper from near the charity stripe with 3:16 remaining.
That offensive outage combined with Marshfield’s 14-of-20 free-throw shooting in the fourth proved to be enough even though the Lady Wildcats diversified their offense a bit more down the stretch and got within five points on multiple possessions.
The Lady Wildcats showed heart in making it competitive after they were held scoreless for the game's opening seven minutes and trailed 9-2 after one. They eventually pulled even as Kibby converted an and-1 opportunity, then tied the game on a corner 3-pointer with 40 seconds left in the second quarter.
“We got off to a horrible start,” L-R head coach Jeff Dishman said. “After that we kind of settled in; we missed a few gimmies, but that's part of it. I was proud of how we battled back in the second and got ourselves even.”
Kibby ended with 29 and Williams complimented her with nine for the Lady Cats (5-12), who had won the past 14 meetings between the two teams.
McBride led Marshfield with 16 and Cromer chipped in 11.