Lady Mustangs Pull Out Semi-Final Win

Lady Mustangs Pull Out Semi-Final Win

By David Sharp

  Randi Lee Plunkett
was the wrong freshman to foul in the closing seconds of a March 19, Class 1
girls’ semi-final game with Bakersfield. The 50% free throw shooter nailed five
of six free throws in the final 39 seconds preserving a 60-54 Lady Mustang win.

   Marion County
advances to the Class 1 girls’ championship game for the first time in school
history. The Lady Mustangs won fourth place in 1999. The Lady Mustangs face
Exeter (29-1) in the Saturday 2PM Class 1 girls’ title game. Marion County took
a ten point lead with 2:27 showing on the first half clock.

   Lady Mustang ball
pressure and a 20-14 first half rebound edge helped MC to a 27-17 lead after
trailing 10-6 early. Bakersfield (20-9) turned up their defensive intensity and
battled back to a 38-37 three quarter pole edge after trailing 29-25 at
intermission.

   The Lions beat
Marion County down the court at least three times in the fourth quarter and
built a 47-42 lead. Morgan Spratt stepped up with her fourth three ball of the
game at the 3:17 mark of the fourth quarter for a 47-45 Lion lead.

   Marion County made
plays in the final period to win the game. The Lady Mustangs stopped two fourth
quarter Bakersfield fast break chances. Jessica Redd tied the game twice in the
closing two minutes.

   The 6’1” freshman
hammered home offensive boards with 2:15 to play for a 49 all tie. Brooke Lair
converted a nice pass to a 51-49 edge 30 seconds later. Marion County outscored
the Lions 11-5 in the final 2:15 of the contest.

   The Mustang press
forced a turnover. Jessica Redd knotted matters at 51 at the 1:22 mark. Jordan
Johnson was wide open underneath when Redd rifled a pass for the eventual game
winner with 60 seconds on the clock.

   “We are a family.
We knew we would do something to get back,” said junior forward Jordan Johnson.
Kayla Bridgeman stole the basketball near midcourt. Freshman Randi Lee Plunkett
sank her five free throws with the game hanging in the balance.

   Jordan Johnson
scored at the buzzer, advancing a 58-54 lead to the 60-54 final score. Jessica
Redd dominated the contest at times for Marion County with a game high 20
points, 12 rebounds and eight of the Lady Mustang’s nine blocked shots.

   Morgan Spratt was
4-9 from the three point line and finished with 14 points. Jordan Johnson was
in double figures with nine points. Randi Lee Plunkett took another step to the
wireless world with nine points. Randi’s dad Jason promised his daughter a cell
phone two months ago if the Lady Mustangs won the state title.

   Marion County held
a 36-30 overall rebound advantage. Bakersfield stole the ball 13 times to eight
for Marion County. Turnovers were nearly even with Marion County holding a
razor’s edge at 17-16.

   Stephany Kasinger
led four Lions in double figures with 18 points. “We gave up some easy baskets
off their transition. Morgan (Spratt) hit four big shots. We scored some points
in the first half.”

   “That was the
tightest game we have been in this year,” said Marion County coach Mike
Johnson. “I thought our kids responded well tonight.”

   Exeter downed
Jefferson County 48-30 in the other Class 1 girls’ semi-final. In other first
day Show-Me showdown II action, Harrisburg powered to an 81-60 win over Laquoy
(28-3).

  Cory Via set a Show
Me Showdown made free throw record with 25-28 from the charity stripe. Via
tossed in 48 points, the most any player has scored since 1953 in the state
tournament. Laquoy turned the ball over 27 times to 13 for the Bulldogs.

   Michael Wilson, a
6’8” Hornet center scored 30 points with 14 rebounds against Harrisburg. The
Bulldogs (27-4) face Portageville (23-5) on Friday at 12:20PM for the Class 2
boys’ championship.

   Scott County
Central (28-2) will face Newtown-Harris for the Class 1 boys’ title Saturday at
12:20PM. The Tigers topped Chadwick (25-5) 75-64 in Class 1 semi-final play. A
38-26 Tiger rebounding margin helped erase a 38-37 Chadwick lead at the half.

   K. J. Cool,
Japheth Busick, and TJ Ireland led Newtown-Harris with 14 points each. Kanaan
Fairley was the fourth Tiger in double figures with ten points. Patrick Holt
scored a game high 24 Cardinal points.