Lady Bobcats' pressure overcomes Ozark's stall tactics

Friday, December 14, 2018

By Scott Loftis

The Ozark Lady Hillbillies tried taking the air out of the basketball on Monday against visiting Berryville. The strategy was fairly successful for one quarter, but then the Lady Bobcats turned up the pressure and took the air out of Ozark’s balloon.

After leading 4-2 at the end of the first quarter, Berryville outscored Ozark 11-0 in the second quarter and went on to a 47-16 victory.

Sophomore guard Lilli Compton hit a pair of three-pointers in the second quarter and finished with 13 points to lead the Lady Bobcats, who also got eight points from senior forward Kelcee Hopper and seven from senior guard McKayla Hussey.

“They tried to play slowdown, and it was effective for a little while and then I guess it wasn’t,” Berryville coach Daniel Cornelison said. “They did what they thought they had to do. We finally upped the pressure so much that they started turning it over or taking a quick shot to keep from turning it over.”

Berryville, which improved to 11-0, is the No. 1-ranked team in Class 4A and No. 9 in Arkansas overall in the MaxPreps rankings. Now the Lady Bobcats are ready to open conference play, starting with a game Friday night at Huntsville.

Including Berryville, the MaxPreps Class 4A rankings have three teams from the 4A-1 conference among the top six and five among the top 14.

“Our conference is really, really solid,” Cornelison said. “There are several good teams and you’re going to have to play really well to beat them, especially on the road.”

The first road challenge is Huntsville. The Lady Eagles program is steeped in tradition and although Huntsville (2-7) has struggled in its first season under coach Greg McCone — who succeeded legendary Lady Eagles coach Charles Berry — Cornelison doesn’t expect anything to come easily on Friday.

“In the eight years I’ve been here, I think we’ve gone to Huntsville and won a basketball game one time,” Cornelison said. “They’re a different animal at home.”

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