Lady Bruins overpower Ozark, advance to final four

Lady Bruins overpower Ozark, advance to final four

Emily Wright

 

Freshman Cierra Porter getting ready for a pass. Photo by Shaun Gladney
With a team goal of making it to the state championships, the Lady Bruins (23-3) extended their 15-game winning streak by one as they took down the Ozark Tigers (25-4) 57-31 in Springfield at the MSHSAA class five state quarterfinals.
Ozark, which the Bruins beat in overtime 50-45 Dec. 27, was an opponent the Bruins knew would be a challenge to overcome. Going into the game, Tigers had a record of 25-4 and was also on a winning strea, one that had continued since their loss to RBHS.
Initially, it was a close game. Bruin girls had to quickly pull out starters, including freshman Cierra Porter, because the ref called a high number of fouls. The girls barely kept their lead, ending the first quarter only two points ahead of the Tigers.
“It starts to get frustrating [when many fouls are called],” junior Makenzie Skrabal said. “But we used it and turned it into good energy.”
Early during the second quarter, it became clear that the Bruins were not going to let the fouls bring them down.  Both teams had 10 point scoring runs during the second quarter. Then, in desperation to create a wider lead, senior Lindsey Cunningham scored a three pointer at the end of the first half, bringing the score to 23-18.
The Bruins knew they would have to step up their game in order to take down the Lady Tigers.
“We just understood that we needed to buckle down,” Skrabal said. “We all came out really pumped [in the second half].”
This enthusiasm showed as both Cunningham and sophomore Chayla Cheadle scored three pointers in the first five minutes of the second half, quickening the pace of the game. The Lady Bruins managed to pull ahead by 12 points during the third quarter and ended  it with a last second three pointer from freshman Sophie Cunningham.
This scoring run continued into the final minutes of the game as the girls racked up an unexpected 26 point lead to finish it off, winning not only the game, but a spot in the Final Four.
“It feels amazing making it this far,” Skrabal said. “Everyone is so excited to be here.”
By Emily Wright
The Bruins will play Incarnate (25-6) in the final four of the Show-Me Showdown next weekend at Mizzou Arena at 3:30 p.m.