Lady Bobcats win Queens of the Court crown
The Green Forest Queens of the Court Championship was anticlimactic, as the Berryville Lady Bobcats defeated West Fork, 51-14.
"The thing I have stressed so much to our girls is that we have to be as good on both sides of the ball as we can be," Berryville coach Daniel Cornelison said. "Defensively is where it starts. There are going to be nights where the ball doesn't go in the basket so we must be able to defend and we defended them so well. We created so many turnovers and rushed shots and hurried shots that they never found any rhythm offensively. When you play that hard and guard that hard, it leads to some easy buckets. We scored some easy buckets early and that swung the momentum in our favor."
Cornelison believes the Lady Bobcats got a wakeup call after a subpar performance in Thursday's semifinal game against Pea Ridge.
"These young ladies are a motivated group," Cornelison said. "They were disappointed with how the game went. They won, but they knew they could play better. And they were disappointed in that so they stepped on the floor Saturday night with something to prove."
Berryville led 15-5 at the end of the first quarter thanks in large part to nine points from Lexy Anderson in the quarter. Anderson finished the game with 12 points, while Aspen Smith had 10 and Baylea Smith had nine.
"We don't have one person that we are looking to score the basketball," Cornelison said. "Everyone on this team has the ability to score the basketball on a consistent basis on a given night. That is going to make us hard to guard. You don't want them keying in on one or two players. You want them guarding all five girls that are on the floor at one time."
While the Lady Bobcats hope to win a more important championship in early March, Cornelison is glad the Lady Bobcats were able to win the Queens of the Court Tournament in early November.
"That was a goal of ours entering the season," Cornelison said. "It's one we can check off. We have a number of goals we want to accomplish this year and that's one that we wanted right off the bat. There were some good teams over there and I felt like we stepped on the floor every night and just asserted ourselves. When we do that, good things happen."
Berryville 48, Pea Ridge 41
Thursday's semifinal matchup against Pea Ridge was much more challenging for the Lady Bobcats. Berryville led Pea Ridge 41-40 with 4:02 remaining in the game when a Hannah Morrell basket extended the lead to three. Baylea Smith's three-pointer gave the Lady Bobcats a 46-40 lead and Morrell's basket with 1:27 remaining made it 48-40.
"We struggled shooting the ball last night," Cornelison said. "Pea Ridge did a nice job guarding the low block area, but we missed wide-open threes all night long."
Pea Ridge jumped out to an 11-6 lead midway through the first quarter, but a three-point play by Baylea Smith along with a basket by Hopper tied the game at 11-11 going into the second quarter. Berryville opened the second quarter on an 11-2 run and led 24-20 at halftime.
"We have to be ready to play our best basketball every night or else somebody is liable to step up and beat us," Cornelison said. "We have to be prepared every night. But it's early. We just couldn't make a shot and our decision making wasn't the best at times, but that should improve over time."
Anderson and Baylea Smith each made a three-pointer in the third quarter as Berryville took a 37-32 lead into the fourth quarter.
If nothing else, Cornelison was glad to see the Lady Bobcats play good defense for four quarters.
"At times, our defense was inconsistent, but for the most part when I watched the film, we played really good defense," Cornelison said. "It seemed like six or seven times we broke down and every time they made a shot. It didn't break down a lot, but anytime it did, they made a shot. We forced them into 22 or 23 turnovers, so what more could you ask for? We just couldn't convert those turnovers into points like we needed to."
On Tuesday, the Lady Bobcats play at Lincoln. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.