‘A Different Level': Anderson’s putback in OT helps Lady Bobcats prevail
By Scott Loftis
The Berryville Lady Bobcats needed someone to make a big play Tuesday night at Prairie Grove.
And Lexy Anderson delivered.
The decorated senior guard turned a missed free throw into an offensive rebound and basket that helped the Lady Bobcats hang on to beat the Lady Tigers 45-40 in overtime.
“Just went and got it,” Berryville coach Daniel Cornelison said. “There’s no other way around it. She went over a 6-foot, 280-pound girl to go get it.”
Anderson’s putback gave Berryville a 43-40 lead after regulation ended with the score tied at 40. Junior guard Lilli Compton added two free throws for the final points of the game.
Anderson, who has played a key role for the Lady Bobcats since her freshman season, is probably the most talented player on the Berryville roster. As a sophomore she was named the Division II Regional Player of the Year by the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. As a junior, she recovered from a severe knee injury and helped the Lady Bobcats reach the Class 4A state championship game.
She scored a team-high 15 points in Tuesday’s victory, including nine in the second half and overtime.
“Whenever she wants to go, she can go,” Cornelison said. “What I’ll miss most about her after she graduates is just the ability to flip it into another gear. She can just go to a different level. And when it’s time to go win a ballgame, a lot of times she just flips a switch to win a ballgame. That’s what she did on that rebound. She said ‘I’m going to get this rebound and we’re going to win this ballgame.’ That’s what she went and did.”
Anderson’s big play helped Berryville (16-5, 5-2 4A-1) emerge with a victory after a game that was close throughout. The Lady Bobcats led 20-18 at halftime and 32-30 after three quarters.
Another key for Berryville was keeping the Lady Tigers (8-12, 2-5) off the free-throw line.
“We were 15 of 19 from the free throw line, and they were two for two,” Cornelison said. “We did a really good job as far as, they really wanted to get to the rim and get themselves to the free-throw line. We did a really good job of not putting them on the free-throw line, so that was the difference in the ballgame right there.”
Compton scored 11 points and senior forward Jordan Estepp added nine for the Lady Bobcats.
Another test awaits Berryville on Friday, when the Lady Bobcats will host Gravette. The Lady Lions (14-7, 5-2) are riding a five-game winning streak and are led by high-scoring junior guard Shylee Morrison.
“They’re a really good team,” Cornelison said. “They’ve got, I think, the best player in the conference on their team. She’s so talented. They’ve got shooters around her and they’ve got a big post. They play really hard.”
Gravette’s defense also is a concern.
“They’re not an easy matchup because of what they do defensively,” Cornelison said. “It’s going to be a pretty tough ballgame. We’re going to have the handle the ball and limit turnovers. If we can do that, I think we have a good chance. But if we don’t limit turnovers, it’ll be a long night.