Lady Bobcats exit conference tournament as No. 4 seed

Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Allison Smith scores over a pair of Farmington defenders in Friday's 1-4A Conference Tournament semifinal affair. (Chan Davis / Carroll County News)

BERRYVILLE -- Berryville coach Daniel Cornelison was well aware that the Lady Bobcats needed to come out firing on all cylinders to beat Farmington on the third and final attempt of the season in Friday's semifinal round of the 1-4A Conference Tournament.

Instead, the Lady Cats fell asleep at the wheel, grinding gears to a slow start in a 52-38 loss to the Lady Cardinals, the most lopsided setback of the year to the No. 1 seed.

"I said before the game started that we needed to get a good start," Cornelison said. "We got great looks early and our shots just didn't go in the hole. And defensively it looked like we were a step slow. It kind of looked like we were tired."

Neither team got out of first gear in the opening stanza until Farmington went on a run to take a 14-9 lead into the second period. The Lady Cards extended the advantage to 21-10 a minute into the second as Berryville battled early foul trouble and defensive breakdowns.

"We knew it would be tough beating them on their home floor," Cornelison said. "Sara (Johnson) picked up two quick fouls after starting the game well. That left us lacking in the paint. They made a point to get it inside and they did it. They are really quick and made us pay."

Haley Maxwell led the Lady Cards with 17 points followed by Tichina Scales with 15. Maxwell did most of her damage in the first half with 15 points while Scales mopped up with 13 in the second. In contrast, Berryville scored just 19 points in each half and went 50 percent (8-of-16) from the free throw line.

"We had kids that make free throws all year that didn't make free throws," Cornelison said. "We missed easy shots. We shot about 70 percent from the line this year and had kids on the line that normally make those. But we looked fatigued. We didn't have a lot of time to prepare. We hadn't gotten the rest we needed. I thought we had a game plan for it and I'm not making excuses. We just didn't get it done."

Britni Smith led the Lady Bobcats with 13 points, followed by Allie Teague and Allison Smith with seven each. Alex McCallister, who scored 12 points in a win over Gravette on Wednesday, was held to three.

The Lady Cats continue their season at 7 p.m Wednesday in the opening round of the Class 4A North Region Tournament at Lincoln. Berryville is the No. 4 seed from 1-4A Conference and will square off against Pottsville, the No. 1 seed from 4-4A Conference.

"I have watched them twice," Cornelison said. "They are big with a girl about 6'-2" in the middle and a couple others at 6'-0". They are very disciplined. I see a team that wants to grind it out and play half court game with us. I also see a team we can beat if we play well."

Berryville is in a must-win situation to continue it's season, as with all teams that have advanced to regional events.

"We have to shoot better," Cornelison said. "We can't miss two-footers. This is definitely a game that is winnable. On the other hand, they are not a bad team. They beat Farmington out of regionals last year."

Pottsville coaches were on hand on Friday to watch Berryville perform. It was not the Lady Cats' best showing of the year, something Cornelison thinks could play into Berryville's favor.

"The best thing we could have done is have Saturday and Sunday off," he said. "Now we will get back to practice and do normal stuff and get ready to play. I hope Pottsville thinks we play like that all the time. I know we are capable of playing better."

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