Lady Cats defensive in 1-4A Conference win

Friday, January 31, 2014
Alex McCallister takes a shot against Gravette. (Charles Chappell /

BERRYVILLE -- Berryviille coach Daniel Cornelison said the Lady Bobcats would not be accused of poor defense for the rest of the season following last Friday's loss to Ozark.

Whatever Cornelison said to the team in Monday's practice must have been effective as the Lady Cats grounded Gravette 53-22 Tuesday at Bobcat Arena to move a game above .500 in 1-3A Conference action.

Alex McCallister scored 17 points, Britni Smith followed with 10 and Berryville improved to 14-7 overall and 5-4 in league play with five conference games remaining.

"I got after them Monday," Corelison admitted. "I told them we were going to make darn sure we defended. We went back to fundamentals. We executed and were in good position. I could tell the first 30 seconds of the game they were going to guard. And they did it all four quarters. Gravette went stretches of five and six minutes at a time without scoring."

Berryville led 15-3 after the opening stanza and 23-11 at the half before McCallister rattled off three consecutive treys to give the Lady Cats a commanding lead minutes into the second half.

"She shot the ball real well," Cornelison said of the transfer senior. "She was sick and didn't practice the day before. I asked her on the walkthrough if she felt like she could go and she said yes. They played zone and we found her. She hit three in a row -- bang, bang, bang -- and the game was pretty much over at that point."

Gravette connected just six times from the floor in a game that was in stark contrast from the first time the two met when Berryville posted 84 points in a lopsided victory. Since that scoring outburst, the Lady Cats had struggled to find wins, losing three in a row in performances that lacked defensive intensity.

"We just hit a mid-season lull," Cornelison said. "We can't do that. You get a reality check sometimes. We just have to step on the floor and guard. Defense wins championships. Scoring 84 points is fine. But defense wins championships."

Berryville retained fourth position in the conference behind Farmington (8-1), Ozark (8-1) and Prairie Grove (7-2). The Lady Cats host Farmington, which took over the conference lead with Tuesday's win over Ozark, next Tuesday at Bobcat Arena. Berryville will attempt to keep pace with the front-runners tonight against Lincoln on homecoming night.

The Lady Cats escaped with a 48-46 win over the Lady Wolves at Lincoln on Jan. 14.

Allison Smith added eight points against Gravette while Sara Johnson finished with six.

Allie Teague and MCKenzie Ruiz added three each, Whitney Houston and Aleksei Smith chipped in two apiece and Haley Skelton had one.

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