Much of the Smith-Cotton girl’s basketball team got a taste of how bitter the Warrensburg rivalry can be.
Senior Warrensburg guards Hally Piontek and Alli Rhone generated 27 free throws, and led WHS with 22 and 17 points, respectively in a 62-49 Smith-Cotton loss Tuesday, Jan. 31 at Smith-Cotton High School in Sedalia.
S-C head coach Jonathan Tester said Tuesday’s loss was a learning experience.
“Whatever it is we’re trying to draw up on the sideline, in the huddle, we just need to learn when we go and execute that from the beginning, that will pay dividends throughout the span of four quarters,” Tester said. “But I thought our effort was outstanding.”
Tester drew up multiple presses to challenge Warrensburg’s guards. With three freshmen on the floor during many possessions, applying pressure without committing a foul proved difficult against Piontek, slippery off the ball, and Rhone, who was armed with a crossover.
Jessica Coble led Smith-Cotton with 16 points and fellow S-C senior Kiara Williams finished with eight.
Late in the game, trips to the free-throw line separated Warrensburg from the Lady Tigers of Sedalia.
S-C was limited to six points after a Jorey Luebbert 3-pointer made it 46-43 in the fourth. Warrensburg shot 16 of 19 from the free-throw line and outscored Smith-Cotton 22-16 in the fourth quarter.
Coble opened the game with a 3-point play, scoring on an aggressive drive. Piontek answered, and the Lady Tigers were tied at five early.
Courtney Willie capped a 5-0 Warrensburg run with a jumper off the glass. Willie and Sophie Martin exchanged baskets to make it 12-7 before the second quarter.
Smith-Cotton chewed into Warrensburg’s lead with an 8-2 run before halftime, trailing 24-21 at the break.
The Lady Tigers (5-12) host Battle 6 p.m. Wednesday and Center 5:30 p.m. Friday. Tester said for a young team, day-to-day practices on the system installed will help produce more points in the future.
“Everybody wants transition (points),” Tester said. “Certainly we’re going to try and press more and get more easy points out of that press in the transition game and push the pace … Credit to Warrensburg, they had a lot of good guards we were able to handle that pressure well.”
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2