Smith-Cotton Lady Tigers basketball faced Nixa Thursday in the opening round of the McDonald’s Classic in Sedalia. Nixa used sharp shooting early and a second half full-court press to down Smith-Cotton by a score of 54-35.
Darby Christian led the Lady Tigers with a game-high 14 points. She scored six points in the first half and eight in the second. She found success with a spin move in the post and was 4 for 4 from the free-throw line.
Christian brought Smith-Cotton within 10 after putting back her own miss with 4:13 to play in the third quarter.
Cheyanne Tumlinson added 11 points for Smith-Cotton.
The Lady Eagles buried S-C early with long-range. After Nixa opening the game with two missed 3-pointers, Taylor Arnold did all of her scoring – a team-high 11 points – in the first half with three treys and two free throws.
Smith-Cotton head coach Zach Vandevender said Nixa’s formidable offense was in the scouting report.
“Nixa’s kind of a high-powered offensive team,” Vandevender said. “They get a lot of shots up. They let it go. We tried to get those second-chance opportunities and get those rebounds because they’ll come down and shoot it.”
Lakyn Wools scored 10 for Nixa, while Kayla Goss and Halley Wiggins each added nine points.
Nixa made four of their five total threes in the first half.
Vandevender paused Nixa’s 12-2 run with a timeout 3 minutes into the second quarter. Monique Grant cut the Nixa lead to 22-11 and ended the Lady Tiger’s scoring drought with two free throws.
Grant, who finished with four points, sat out of the second half with an apparent injury.
Sarah Garcia hit a shot high off the glass from the post and made the score 29-13 just before halftime.
In the second half, Nixa capitalized on turnovers forced by their full-court press and quickly pushed their lead to 34-15.
Vandevender said the Lady Tigers played their best in short stretches.
“I saw some good things,” Vandevender said. “But we have to keep up that intensity and push the entire game, instead of these spurts. They competed (for) the whole game. They fought the whole game.”
Smith-Cotton plays Friday at 5 p.m. against the winner of last night’s contest between Rolla and Center.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-530-0142 or [email protected]