Lady Cats owned by Ozark in district tourney
GENTRY -- Two games in two days and three two-hour bus rides were too much for Berryville to overcome as the Lady Bobcats had their season draw to a close with a 54-37 loss to Ozark Tuesday night in the second round of the 1-4A District Tournament.
With the loss, Berryville concluded the season with a 17-11 record, more than doubling last year's win production.
"We just had to expend so much energy the night before against Pea Ridge," Berryville coach Daniel Cornelison said. "Then to turn around and play in less than 24 hours we just didn't have the legs to make shots. But Ozark played really well. You sure can't take anything away from them."
The Lady Cats appeared to be in control early, jumping out to a 7-2 lead before the Lady Hillbillies responded with a 7-2 run to close out the period. Ozark outscored the Lady Cats 16-5 in the second to take a commanding lead it would not relinquish.
"I am not disappointed at all," Cornelison said. "I am very pleased with our effort. We did everything we could. When the shots don't fall you have a hard time beating good teams and that's what happened."
The third period was no more kind to the Lady Cats as Berryville was outscored 21-11.
"The second and third quarter killed us," Cornelison said. "They had the rest and depth and it got us in the end."
Britni Smith led the Lady Cats with 10 points, Aleksei Smith followed with nine and Sara Johnson added seven. The trio of juniors will be back next year as Cornelison graduates just one senior, Katie Clark.
"We will have a quality group of seniors and juniors next year," Cornelison said. "We need to have a good summer and get better. I think people realized early on that we were much improved. We just couldn't beat the top four teams in the conference. We have to figure out how to be one of the top four teams next year."
The Lady Cats had their chances this year but dropped three close games that could have moved the squad up to the upper echelon of the conference. Berryville fell in overtime to Lincoln and lost twice to Ozark while leading late. It also dropped it's first conference game to Farmington after holding a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter.
"We had opportunities," Cornelison said. "We just have to capitalize on that next year. But we had a great year. We won 17 games and had three tournament titles."