Lady Greyhounds Stumble in NEA Title Tilt

Thursday, January 7, 2016
The Marmaduke Lady Greyhounds finished as runner-ups in the girls' Division I NEA Invitational Tournament held at Arkansas State University. (TD photo/Anthony Cossey)

Marmaduke (17-7) knew they would have their hands full with the inside game of ICC's Kennedy Cooper, and they were right. Cooper scored 27 points to lead the Lady Cougars (19-4) to a 73-58 win in the girls' Division I championship game of NEA Invitational Tournament in Jonesboro.

"They punched first, we punched back and they punched again and we didn't have anything for that last punch," Marmaduke head coach Rick Smith said after the game.

ICC got on the board first as Harley Thomason and Cooper scored back to back baskets to make it 4-0 ICC. Abby Meredith hit a running jumper for Marmaduke making it 4-2 before Thomason got a stick back bucket for the Lady Cougars to make the score 6-2 ICC. Meredith drilled the first of her three three-pointer of the quarter to make it 6-5 Lady Cougars. Cooper scored the next eight points by converting a three-point play before netting a three-pointer from the right wing and then adding a stick back basket to make the score 14-5 ICC. Natalie Lentz hit a jumper in the lane for the Lady Greyhounds only to see Thomason convert an old-school three-point play to make the score 17-7 ICC. Kelsey McCoy hit two free throws for Marmaduke before Cooper scored inside and Natalie Everett canned a three-pointer from the left corner for ICC making the score 22-9 Lady Cougars. Meredith drilled another three-pointer and added the free throw after being fouled only to see Sam King answer with back to back inside baskets for ICC to make the score 26-13 Lady Cougars with 1:27 left in the opening quarter. Meredith netted a three-pointer from the right wing for the Lady Greyhounds to make the score 26-16 after one quarter of play.

Jordan Mays, Abby Meredith and Kelsey McCoy of Marmaduke were selected to the girls' Division I All-NEA Tournament team. (TD photo/Anthony Cossey)

Meredith opened the second quarter with a three-pointer for Marmaduke to make the score 26-19 ICC. Cooper converted a three-point play and Thomason scored inside for the Lady Cougars to make it 31-19 before Meredith hit a jumper in the lane for the Lady Greyhounds making it 31-21 ICC. Cooper hit one two free throws and added a jumper for the Lady Cougars, Mays got to free throws to fall for Marmaduke and Cooper added a score inside to make it 36-23 ICC with 4:52 to play. Meredith hit two free throws for the Lady Greyhounds, Jen King got one of two free throws to fall for ICC and Meredith drilled a three-pointer from the left wing for Marmaduke to make the score 37-28 Lady Cougars. Kristen Caraway and Sam King got back to back scores for ICC to make it 41-28 Lady Cougars. Lentz got inside for a score and Hyten drilled a three-pointer as the Lady Greyhounds cut the lead to 41-33. Jen King scored off the fast break for ICC, Hyten drilled another three-pointer for Marmaduke before Thomason converted a three-point play and Sam King went the length of the floor for a lay up to make the score 48-36 ICC at the half.

Jen King and Cooper scored back to back baskets to push ICC's lead to 52-36 early in the third quarter before Marmaduke got a three-ball from Mays and back to back three-pointers from Meredith to make the score 52-45 Lady Cougars. ICC scored the next seven points as Thomason scored inside, Sam King hit two free throws and Caraway converted an old-fashioned three-point play to make the score 59-45 ICC. Shandan York scored inside at the buzzer to make the score 59-47 ICC headed to the final quarter.

York scored inside for Marmaduke to make the score 59-49 only to see Cooper hit a jumper making it 61-49 early in the fourth quarter. Mays and Hyten connected on three-pointers for the Lady Greyhounds to make it 61-55 ICC. Sam King scored inside for the Lady Cougars and Hyten canned another three-pointer for Marmaduke making the score 63-58 ICC. The Lady Cougars went on a 10-0 run to make the score 73-58 ICC with 3:06 left. Cooper converted a three-point play; Everett hit a jumper in the lane and then added one of two free throws after being fouled. Sam King hit one of two free throws and followed that with a basket inside. Neither team scored the last three minutes of the game as ICC won the game 73-58.

"We let them get their zone set up and then tried to attack," Marmaduke head coach Rick Smith said after the game. "We cut it to five several times and just couldn't get over the hump," Smith added. "You can't win very much depending on the three, we have to get to the rim more," Smith said.

Meredith led all scorers with 28 points for the Lady Greyhounds, including seven three-pointers, as Hyten finished with 12 points. Mays tossed in eight points as York and Lentz each scored four points and McCoy chipped in two points.

"We wanted to take away their drive and we did a pretty good job at that," ICC head coach Tim Massey said after the game. "We rebounded well and stayed out of foul trouble," Massey added.

Cooper led the Lady Cougars in scoring with 27 points along with 14 points from Thomason and 11 from Sam King. Jen King finished with nine points, Everett netted seven points as Caraway had five points.

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