Morrell takes charge for Lady Bobcats

Friday, November 16, 2018
Berryville senior guard Baylea Smith shoots a three-pointer in a game earlier this season against Pea Ridge. Smith and senior forward Hannah Morrell were honored before Tuesday’s game against Rogers Heritage after both scored their 1,000th career points.
Charles Chappell /

By Scott Loftis

Berryville coach Daniel Cornelison says he had never even seen a player score 20 points in one quarter before Tuesday night, much less have one of his players do it.

Now he has.

Senior forward Hannah Morrell took control in third quarter, scoring 20 of her 31 points as Berryville pulled away for a 57-35 victory over Rogers Heritage at Bobcat Arena.

Morrell made five field goals and 10 of 11 free throws as Berryville outscored Heritage 27-8 in the quarter.

“When she decides she doesn’t want to be guarded, she’s unguardable,” Cornelison said.

Morrell, who signed a letter of intent with Drury University on Wednesday, scored seven points in the first quarter but drew her second foul with 37.5 seconds left in the quarter. She sat for the rest of the first half.

Senior guard Baylea Smith, who was honored along with Morrell before the game for scoring 1,000 career points, hit a three-pointer to give the Lady Bobcats a 12-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Berryville (4-0) scored just three points in the second quarter, however, and Heritage took a 16-15 lead at halftime.

Cornelison said it’s important that Morrell stay out of foul trouble.

“That’s something that has to be a priority,” he said. “You’ve got to be smart, especially early in the game. You know the other team is going to go after you and try to get you in foul trouble, because the only way they can guard you is to get you out of the game.”

With Morrell back on the court for the start of the third quarter, Heritage’s lead evaporated quickly. Her basket 12 seconds into the quarter put Berryville ahead 17-16 and the Lady Bobcats led the rest of the way.

Morrell scored seven points in the first two minutes of the quarter. She hit two free throws with 6:01 remaining to cap a 9-0 run and extend the Lady Bobcats’ lead to 24-16. The lead swelled to 31-10 when Morrell was fouled after an offensive rebound and made two free throws at the 2:37 mark. That started an 11-0 run that was capped when Morrell hit a free throw with 23.5 seconds left for her 20th point of the quarter.

Morrell scored her final points of the night after rebounding her own miss with 5:46 remaining in the game for a 53-23 Berryville lead. She went to the bench 20 seconds later and did not return.

Heritage (0-2), a Class 7A team that went 6-21 last season, made little attempt to penetrate the Lady Bobcats’ zone defense, instead firing away from the outside. Heritage had only two field goals from inside three-point range to go with seven three-pointers and 10 free throws in 22 attempts.

“We knew they were going to shoot the three a bunch,” Cornelison said. “We tried to get out there and disrupt their timing a little bit. We made some adjustments at halftime and I thought we did a better job of guarding them in the second half.”

Offensively, Cornelison said the Lady Bobcats have to become more balanced. Smith scored nine points against Heritage while senior forward Kelcee Hopper added eight.

“We’ve addressed that,” Cornelison said. “We addressed that specifically in practice on Wednesday. The scoring cannot come through Hannah and Hannah only. We know Baylea can score. We know Kelcee can score. Our sophomores scored last year as freshmen.”

Berryville will host Eureka Springs on Friday night at Bobcat Arena.

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