Waynesville outscored the Wolves 15-6 in the fourth quarter to win 45-33
Give them credit: The Waynesville Lady Tigers may keep falling in Rolla Holiday Tournament semifinal games but they come back and finish strong in the third-place games.
For the third year in a row, the Lady Tigers have taken the third-place plaque Friday, beating the Newburg Lady Wolves 45-33. It's also the third year in a row they've won the third-place game by a double-digit margin (Waynesville beat Rolla 92-47 last year and Newburg 57-43 in 2014).
Brittany Matlock said she and her Lady Tigers talked about the difficulties getting excited after missing out on the championship.
“I told the girls, You can look at it one way: We can be made and upset. Or, We can go out in the third-place game and try to prove a point.”
Eventually, they chose the latter. However, she admitted it didn't look that way early in the game.
Both offenses looked rather stagnant, missing a lot of shots and ending with a 9-8 Waynesville advantage after ReShawna Stone knocked down a left wing three with 21 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Lady Tigers opened the second quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 16-8 lead with 4:13 left in the half, the largest lead they would hold in the first three frames.
Stone picked up her second foul in the midst of that run, though, and the Wolves pounced when she left for the rest of the half.
Waynesville had just three points, coming on 3-4 free throw shooting, the rest of the way while Newburg went on a 10-3 run with all of their points coming on free throws as well.
Three of them were awarded after the halftime buzzer as Riley Guffey was fouled heaving up a prayer as time expired. She hit the floor rather hard and stayed down for a while. She had an apparent left-hand injury.
Steve Guffey had Kylee Brookshire take the free throws to trim the Lady Tigers' lead to 19-18.
Riley came back out in the third and didn't appear to be hindered by the injury.
Steve said his daughter has no issue playing through pain. The ability to do so may have come via lots of tough love through the years.
“Being dad, I'm always telling her to suck it up and be tough,” Guffey said. “One year she broke her hand and I didn't take her to the doctor because I kept telling her she had to suck it up and she played half a season with a broken hand.”
Brookshire was the outlet on a lot of Newburg's possessions in the third, picking up all but four of the Wolves' 12 points.
But a stretch of three straight turnovers early in the quarter led to two coast-to-coast layups for Stone and a jumper for Katie Handley. That made the difference as the Tigers led 30-27 heading into the fourth quarter.
Outside of a trio of free throws in four trips to the stripe in the final quarter, Newburg had just two baskets – one each from Mychaela Van Pelt and Riley Guffey.
Meanwhile, Stone and Nina Kizzee outscored the Wolves alone as they dropped in five apiece in the fourth as their team outscored Newburg 15-6 in the quarter.
Six times a Tiger shooter was sent to the free-throw line in the fourth and Guffey was not pleased with the ratio of called fouls between the teams.
“I've got kids with bleeding shoulders, scratches all over them and everything,” Guffey said. “No fouls were called in our favor in the fourth quarter. I'm just not real happy about that because it was a very physical game and I thought both teams were pretty physical. But, all of a sudden, it got out of hand, in my opinion, with the physicality and nothing being called on our end.”
As stated earlier, four times a Newburg player was awarded a chance at the free throw line, so that statement is not entirely true.
Guffey continued on to say the referees were not the reason his team lost, albeit with a caveat.
“It wasn't the officials' fault we lost the ballgame but it changes the mental aspect of the game whenever you are down by two or whatever and you're shooting free throws as opposed to losing the ball several times,” Guffey said. “It works on you mentally. You know, young kids. It's tough. There's a lot of psychology to the game and a foul here or there might have helped them. But you have to do a better job of protecting the ball when it's in your hands.”
As for scoring, Stone led the Lady Tigers with 17 points followed by Kizzee's 11, Handley and Shoulders both had six, Peyton Aragon and Afatia Poinsette two and Victoria Perry one.
Newburg was led by Brookshire who had 13. Guffey had eight, Van Pelt four, McKayla Callahan three, Allyssa Dondlinger and Alexis Stevenson two and Audrey Suschanke one.