Hot-shooting Blue Eye beats Lady Bobcats
By Scott Loftis
Berryville coach Daniel Cornelison wasn’t thrilled with the idea of the Lady Bobcats having to face the Blue Eye Lady Bulldogs on Dec. 10, just four days after Berryville rallied in the second half to win on Blue Eye’s home court.
As it turned out, Cornelison’s concerns were well-founded.
A combination of torrid shooting by Blue Eye and a third-quarter scoreless stretch of nearly six minutes for Berryville helped the Lady Bulldogs pull off a 58-54 victory at Bobcat Arena.
“It’s two pretty evenly matched teams. They made a lot of tough shots and we didn’t,” Cornelison said. “When you have that combination, you get beat. They played a lot better Tuesday night than they did Friday night, and we played a lot better Friday night than we did Tuesday night.”
Blue Eye made nine three-pointers, including three in the fourth quarter as the Lady Bobcats tried to fight back from a 40-32 deficit.
Three-pointers from senior Lexy Anderson and junior Abby Thurman — both off kickout passes from senior forward Jordan Estepp — got Berryville within four at 42-38.
Blue Eye’s Kohnnar Patton, who scored a game-high 22 points, dropped in a three-pointer to push the Lady Bulldogs’ lead back to seven.
Two three-pointers by Blue Eye’s Kyla Warren, wrapped around a three-point play by Berryville junior Lauren Compton, made it a 10-point margin at 53-43 with 3:19 left.
Lilli Compton hit a three-pointer for Berryville with 3:05 left and, after a missed free throw by Blue Eye, Anderson converted an offensive rebound into a three-point play to pull the Lady Bobcats back within four at 53-49 with 2:06 left.
It was still a four-point game after Estepp made two free throws with 47.4 seconds left, and Blue Eye was called for 10 seconds in the backcourt as the Lady Bobcats turned up their defensive pressure.
After Berryville missed the front end of a one-and-one with 26 seconds left, the Lady Bobcats were forced foul. Patton hit two free throws with 16.3 seconds left for a 58-52 Blue Eye lead.
Estepp scored for Berryville with 5.5 seconds left but with Blue Eye holding a two-possession lead that was as close as the Lady Bobcats could get.
Cornelison said his team will try to use the loss as an opportunity to grow.
“I’ve always said you learn more from losing than you do from winning,” he said. “You just hope you don’t learn too much. … The main thing is we’ve got to play with great effort.”
Estepp led Berryville with 16 points. Anderson added 14, including her 1,000th career point.
“That’s something that’s a milestone,” Cornelison said. “Everyone would love to get that and very few do. I’m very, very proud of her. It’s a testament to all the work she’s put in.”