Lady Cardinals down Thunderbirds, Greyhounds to advance to NEA semis
The Weiner Lady Cardinals opened up the 66th Annual Northeast Invitational Tournament with a 73-14 win over the Cross County Lady Thunderbirds in Division One high school girls basketball action last Thursday at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro. The Lady Cardinals were back in action this past Saturday as they defeated Sloan-Hendrix 64-46 to advance to the semi-finals.
Against Cross County, Allegra Melton got the Lady Cardinals on the board first as she hit two free throws after being fouled with 7:40 left in the opening period. Sarah White got Cross County on the board as she got inside for a basket at 7:25 to make it 2-2. Melton was again fouled and connected on one of two free throws for a 3-2 Weiner lead. Lexi Smith hit three free throws after being fouled attempting a three-pointer to make it 6-2 with 6:22 left. White hit two free throws to cut the lead to two at 6-4, this was as close at the Lady Thunderbirds would be for the rest of the game. The Lady Cardinals took control as they went on a 16-0 run over the next two and a half minutes. Peyton Craft scored back to back buckets on an inside shot and lay up off a pass from Kaci Mack to make it 10-4. Jaden Malone scored on a fast break at 4:18 before Melton got inside for a basket while being fouled. Melton hit the free throw to make it 15-4 Lady Cardinals. Craft again hit back to back shots with a lay up and an inside basket. Mack finished off the run with a three-pointer to make it 22-4 with 2:20 left. Brianna Lace hit one of two free throws for Cross County to stop the Weiner run at 2:04. Craft got inside for a bucket as Kelli Armstrong answered with a bucket inside for Cross County to make it 24-7 with 1:30 to play. Mack got inside and was fouled as she made the basket. Mack was good on the free throw to make the score 27-7 Weiner. Craft finished the scoring in the first period as she grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back in with 15 seconds left. The first period ended with the Lady Cardinals up 29-7.
Weiner opened the second period with an 8-0 run as Malone connected on three of four free throws a little over a minute into the period. Smith hit two of three after being fouled on a three-point shot and Lewis made a basket to make it 36-7 with 5:15 left in the period. White hit a jumper for Cross County at 4:54 to make it 36-9. Melton got inside before Craft hit one of two free throws to push the lead to 39-9 for Weiner. Melton stretched the lead to 42-9 with a three-pointer at 2:58. Lace was fouled for the Lady Thunderbirds and hit one of two free throws to make it 42-10. Mack worked her way inside for a basket at 1:53 and Malone drilled a three-pointer with 58 seconds left to make it 47-10 Weiner. White got inside for a Cross County basket before Mack canned a three-pointer to make it 50-12 at the half.
The mercy rule was in effect as the third period started. Malone got the Lady Cardinals on the board first as she netted a three-pointer at 7:30. Lace hit a jumper for the Lady Thunderbirds at 6:55 to make it 53-14. Weiner scored the last nine points of the period as Melton scored inside, Mack drained another three-pointer to make it 58-14. Melton hit a jumper and Malone made two free throws to make it 62-14 after three periods of play.
It was all Weiner in the final period as they outscored the Lady Thunderbirds 11-0. Melton and Lewis both got inside for baskets to make it 66-14 with 4:48 left in the game. Malone got free for a lay up before Kathi Krossa canned a three-pointer to make it 71-14 with 1:52 to play. Craft set the final score at 73-14 with a basket off an offensive rebound with 53 seconds left.
"We shot the ball well tonight," Weiner coach James Halitzka said after the game. "We played defense good early and it was nice to get everyone in the game," Halitzka added.
Melton led four player in double figures for Weiner with 17 points. Malone and Craft both scored 15 points and Mack had 14 for the Lady Cardinals.
White led Cross County with eight points.
In the Sloan-Hendrix game, Weiner led after each period extending their lead after each.
Weiner jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first minute of play as Peyton Craft got inside for a basket and then hit one of two free throws after being fouled. Melton connected on two free throws with 7:05 left. Kara DeShazd got Sloan-Hendrix on the board with a free throw at 6:09 making it 5-1 Weiner. Craft scored off an offensive rebound to make it 7-1 with 5:45 left in the first period. The Lady Greyhounds reeled off the next seven points to take an 8-7 lead with 4:10 remaining. Britney Wolfe got inside before Madison Huddleston netted a three-pointer and hit a jumper for Sloan-Hendrix. Lexi Smith hit a jumper for Weiner making it 9-8 before Kaci Mack hit a three-point bomb at 3:25 putting the Lady Cardinals up 12-8. Shayla Dickson drilled a three for Sloan-Hendrix at 1:50 and Craft hit one of two free throws at 1:35 to make it 13-11 Weiner. Dickson hit a jumper for Sloan-Hendrix and Mack made two free throws at 1:09 to set the first period score at 15-13 Lady Cardinals.
Weiner opened the second period with a 10-2 run to go up 25-15 with 4:31 left. Craft hit two free throws and Lewis made a lay up to make it 19-13 with 6:55 remaining. Dickson hit a jumper for the Lady Greyhounds at 6:14 to make it 19-15. Craft scored back to back inside baskets to stretch the lead to 23-15. Mack made two of three free throws after being fouled attempting a three-point shot. Dickson canned a three-pointer for the Sloan-Hendrix to make it 25-18 with 2:57 left in the half. Jaden Malone grabbed a rebound off her own miss and scored and Craft hit two more free throws at 2:07 to make it 29-18. Ashley Ward got inside for Sloan-Hendrix before Huddleston scored inside and was fouled with 45 seconds left. Huddleston made her free throw sending the teams to half time with Weiner holding a 29-23 lead.
The Lady Cardinals opened the third period with a 10-1 run to open up a 15 point lead at 39-24. Craft grabbed a defensive rebound and drove the floor for a basket, Huddleston hit a free throw for the Lady Greyhounds to make it 31-24. Craft scored on a lay up, Melton grabbed a defensive rebound and drove the floor for a score, Hunter Lewis scored off an offensive rebound and Craft finished the run with a basket inside. Sloan-Hendrix scored the last five points of the period to cut the lead to 10. Cheyene Vance and Ward hit back to back inside shots and Dickson hit a free throw at 1:21 to make it 39-29 after three periods.
Mack made a lay up at 7:22 and was fouled. Mack twisted her ankle when she came down and had to be helped off the court. Melton shot her free throw and missed making it 41-29. Craft got a lay up and was fouled at 7:03. Craft's free throw was good making the score 44-29. Dickson hit two free throws after being fouled for Sloan-Hendrix to make it 44-31. Smith was fouled shooting a three and hit one of three free throws putting the score at 45-31. Huddleston and Lewis traded inside baskets making it 47-33. Vance scored on a lay up at 5:33 making it 47-35. Melton was fouled on back to back possessions for Weiner and made one of two each time making it 49-35. Vance scored back to back cutting the Weiner lead to 49-39. Ward cut the lead to eight with two free throws at 3:47. The Lady Cardinals reeled off the next seven points to open up a 14 point lead. Melton hit one of two free throws after being fouled. Melton then got a steal and took it in for a score and was fouled. Melton missed the free shot to leave the score at 52-41. Malone was fouled and made two free throws and Craft hit one of two free shots to make the score 55-41. Huddleston hit a three-pointer from the top of the key to make it 55-44 Weiner. Mack was good on two free throws and Vance made a short jumper for Sloan-Hendrix at 1:47 to make it a 57-46 game. Weiner closed the game out with a 7-0 run to set the final at 64-46. Craft scored a basket at 1:16, Melton hit a short jumper and added a free throw to make it 62-46 with 28 seconds to play. Smith finished out the scoring with an inside basket with 12 seconds left.
"We went to a zone and didn't rotate so went back to man and played smarter and stopped their cuts to the basket," Weiner coach James Halizka said after the game. "When they (Sloan-Hendix) went man to man, we drove the ball to the basket and got to the free throw line a lot the second half," Halitzka added.
Craft led all scorers with 26 points for the Lady Cardinals. Melton chipped in 10 points and Mack netted 11 for Weiner.
Huddleston led the Lady Greyhounds with 14 points, Dickson followed with 13 points and Vance scored 10 for Sloan-Hendrix.