Lady Cats hoist hardware again

Saturday, December 8, 2012
Green Forest's Payton Watson (42) and Berryville's Raphailla Harris (23) flank an inbounds play Saturday night in the Carroll County Hardwood Challenge at Bobcat Arena. (Chan Davis / Carroll County News)

BERRYVILLE -- Britni Smith exploded for 24 points to lead Berryville to a 59-38 win over Green Forest in the title tilt of the Carroll County Hardwood Challenge Saturday night at Bobcat Arena.

The win improved the Lady Cats to 6-2 overall as Berryville won for the second straight time over the Lady Tigers (10-3) and claimed their second tournament title in a week, the first at the Omaha Border Classic last Saturday.

Smith took control of the game early, scoring half of Berryville's first-half points as the Lady Cats built a 32-16 lead at intermission. She finished with a trio of 3-pointers and carved up the Lady Tigers defense with 16 points in the paint off dribble penetration.

"Our offense starts with Britni Smith, plain and simple," Berryville coach Daniel Cornelison said. "When she is playing well we are going to put up numbers. And she stepped up to the plate tonight."

Aleksei Smith added 10 points for the Lady Cats, who have now beaten the Lady Tigers twice after not recording a win against their cross-town rival in six years.

Green Forest coach Kyle Farrar indicated fatigue as a factor in the outcome as the Lady Tigers completed a three-day, three-game stretch that included a 10-point win over Gentry Friday night.

"We were tired," he said. "It was clearly obvious. Kaitlin (Powell) missed more shots than she will miss in January. She was completely worn out. We didn't have any legs as a team. Some of that has to do with Berryville. Some of it has to do with playing three games in three nights."

The Lady Cats did appear a step faster, jumping out to a 16-6 lead in the first quarter and preventing the Lady Tigers from getting into a rhythm with full-court pressure that created a myriad of turnovers. Green Forest managed just four points in the fourth as Berryville cruised down the stretch, allowing 10 players to score.

The Lady Cats now look ahead to Tuesday's home game against Farmington in the 1-4A Conference opener for both schools. Farmington is coming off a 30-win season that ended in the finals of the Class 4A playoffs with a loss to Star City.

"I think we are a lot more confident," Smith said of the season outlook. "Coach told us after the game that we can do anything if we just believe in ourselves. I think after these games we have played we are finally starting to believe in ourselves."

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