Lady Cats climb to winner's bracket

Friday, December 27, 2013
Sara Johnson shoots over a Cassville defender. (Chan Davis / Carroll County News)

BERRYVILLE -- The Lady Bobcats jumped out to a 21-6 lead after the opening period and cruised to a 58-26 win over Cassville, Mo., in the opening round of the Holiday Hoops Tournament at Bobcat Arena.

Alex McCallister and Allison Smith led Berryville with 12 points each while Sara Johnson followed with 11 as the Lady Cats improved to 8-4. Cassville dropped to 1-5.

Berryville coach Daniel Cornelison said the Lady Bobcats are playing well without senior point guard Britni Smith. McCallister has led Berryville in scoring the past two games while Johnson has averaged 13 points per game during a three-game stretch that included a 17-point outing in the championship game of the Omaha Border Classic last Wednesday.

"She has played three really solid games in a row," Cornelison said. "She had 17 in the championship game of the Omaha Tournament. Then she played well against Ozark and played well again tonight. She is being more aggressive."

McCallister is starting to understand her role after transferring in from Marshall.

"I thought Alex played real well tonight," Cornelison said. "I challenged her defensively and she played well on the defensive end. She led us in scoring tonight and against Ozark. We need her to carry more of a load for us."

The Lady Cats have won two of their last three games, a 1-4A Conference loss to Ozark sandwiched between Wednesday's win at Omaha and Thursday's win over Cassville. Berryville advanced to the winner's bracket with Thursday's win and will square off against conference foe Pea Ridge tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the second round of the event.

Cornelison said point production was a must if the Lady Bobcats are going to play for the tournament title on Saturday and have a chance to defend their 2012 tournament title.

"We have to score," he said. "We aren't going to win scoring 32 points. We are going to guard you and make it hard for you to score. We held Farmington to 39 points and held Ozark to their lowest point total of the year. But we have to score more points if we expect to win."

Aleksei Smith added eight points for the Lady Cats while McKenzie Ruiz had six, Shayley Sams had five and Haley Skelton and Allie Teague chipped in with two apiece.

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