After surrendering an upset loss Saturday to the hosting Lady Eagles in the Otterville Holiday Classic, and after a cautious first half Tuesday against Northwest, the Smithton Lady Tigers bounced back with a more confident offense to top the Lady Mustangs, 51-41 on Tuesday.
Madison Brown led Smithton with 12 points as the Lady Tigers won every quarter but the first. Head coach Bryan Werner said the Smithton bench, which scored 20 points, kept the team afloat against a familiar zone defense.
“I told them we play against zones almost every game,” Werner said. “We’re playing the same defense we play every game, we just need to do a better job at what we do, not what we’re doing.”
Allison Barnes paced Northwest with 14 points, Megan Simpson scored 12 and Megan Walk finished with 10 points.
Three separate 6-point leads slipped from Northwest in the first half. Juno Nausa tied the game at 22 with a three less than a minute before half.
On the next possession, Simpson received a long pass to break the Smithton press and scored with a buzzer-beating layup.
Smithton fired no warning shots to open the second half. Tori Klein hit a jumper on the elbow to tie the game, and Brown hit a 3-pointer that pushed the Lady Tigers ahead, 35-32.
Marissa Cornine hit a trey to bring Northwest within five, but Brown, who scored seven Smithton points in the fourth, kept the Lady Mustangs corralled.
Werner said the difference between Saturday’s 57-52 overtime loss to Otterville was Smithton’s finish in the fourth quarter.
“We had a lead in the fourth quarter and we lost it,” Werner said about Saturday. “We finished really well tonight, and that was a good thing for a relatively young team, being put in the same situation the next game, to pull through. It will do a lot for their confidence.”
Smithton hosts Slater 6 p.m. Friday in the Otterville Holiday Classic consolation final.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2