Lady Cats back to even in conference following road loss to Lady Hillbillies
OZARK -- Berryville fell to 13-7 overall and 4-4 in 1-4A Conference action with a 63-53 loss to Ozark Friday night as the Lady Cats have lost two straight league outings after winning four straight.
Britni Smith led the Lady Cats with 25 points and Alex McCallister followed with 13. But it wasn't enough to overcome the talented Lady Hillbillies, led by Kylie Ladd's 21 points.
Ozark led 19-13 after the opening frame as the Lady Cats kept things close throughout the period. But the Lady Hillbillies outscored Berryville 18-7 in the second frame to take 37-20 into the recess.
"They have one (Ladd) that you really have to key on. But they have five that can play," Berryville coach Daniel Cornelison said. "They just all can play the game. As a team, they shoot the ball well and understand where each other is on the floor. There's a reason they only have one loss."
The Lady Hillbillies led 1-4A Conference with an unblemished 8-0 league record and are 19-1 overall, the only loss a four-point setback to Fort Smith Southside in the second game of the season.
The Lady Cats matched Ozark in the second half, outscoring the Lady Hillbillies 33-26. But the first-half advantage was more than Berryville could overcome, a result of poor defensive effort according to Cornelison.
"We had not played well defensively," he said. "We have to get better defensively. You tend to get caught up in what you can do at this point in the season against other teams and get away from the basics. We have to do what we do and do it really well. And we have to get back to really guarding hard."
Ozark coach Bret Nagel said the Lady Cats clawed back into the game when the Lady Hillbillies appeared to coast through the second half.
"We got a little passive on offense and defense," he said. "We didn't do a good job of getting over and sealing off driving lanes. Turnovers hurt in the fourth quarter and we missed the front end of three one and ones. We just got a little passive."
But Ladd and teammates Olivia Melton and Celia Heffington got enough production to stave off the charging Lady Cats. Melton finished with 15 points while Heffington followed with 12.
Cornelison said the Lady Cats were defending well at the beginning of the season and that process would continue when Berryville hosts Gravette tonight at Bobcat Arena.
"It hasn't been there for the last three or four games except for a quarter here and there," he said. "That is unacceptable. We are going to get back to that. This will be the last game you will see that."