Lady Bobcats dominate Huntsville, despite defensive lapses

Friday, December 27, 2019
Berryville junior guard Lauren Compton battles a Huntsville player for a loose ball in a Dec. 20 game at Bobcat Arena. The Lady Bobcats overcame an early 7-2 defiicit for a 57-34 victory to open 4A-1 conference play.
Charles Chappell /

By Scott Loftis

Standards are high for the Berryville Lady Bobcats basketball program.

So, even in Friday’s 57-34 victory over Huntsville, Berryville coach Daniel Cornelison saw some room for improvement.

“We’ll take it,” Cornelison said. “We can play better than what we did. We didn’t defend very well.”

Specifically, Cornelison was concerned that Huntsville was able to convert some layups against the Lady Bobcats’ press in the first half.

“We just weren’t rotating correctly,” he said. “When you don’t rotate correctly and the other team takes advantage of that, they get layups.”

But even that wasn’t enough for the Lady Eagles to keep up with Berryville’s offensive attack, and Huntsville scored just 12 points in the second half as the Lady Bobcats eased off the pressure.

“The second half we just played ’em in the halfcourt and we did better,” Cornelison said.

Offensively, by contrast, the Lady Bobcats seemed to do exactly what they wanted: get the ball to senior forward Jordan Estepp and let her put it in the basket.

Estepp matched her career-high with 26 points, including 18 in the first half as Berryville erased an early 7-2 deficit.

Junior guard Lilli Compton’s three-point basket — after an offensive rebound by senior guard Lexy Anderson — put the Lady Bobcats ahead 8-7 with 4:20 left in the first quarter. Berryville led the rest of the way. Compton’s second three-pointer, 3.8 seconds before the first-quarter buzzer, made it 17-12.

Estepp scored 12 of the Lady Bobcats’ 15 points in the second quarter as Berryville opened up a 32-22 halftime lead. She added eight more in the third quarter, which ended with Berryville up 44-29.

“She just carried us at times,” Cornelison said of Estepp, who had 26 points for the second time in Berryville’s past three games. “She’s hard to guard.”

Maybe more impressive than Estepp’s big scoring night, though, was her commitment to the Lady Bobcats’ team-first mentality. She opened the third quarter with assists on three consecutive baskets: a kickout pass to junior Abby Thurman for a three-pointer from the right elbow, a feed to Anderson for a point-blank layup and another assist to Thurman, this time on the inside.

“Jordan’s basketball IQ is off the charts,” Cornelison said. “She’s so smart and she sees the court.”

Compton finished with three three-pointers and scored 12 points, while Anderson added 10 for Berryville (9-2, 1-0 4A-1), which bounced back from a loss to Blue Eye, Mo., and won its conference opener against a traditional rival.

“All in all it was a good win,” Cornelison said.

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