‘Jackets best Bulldogs in district tournament

Photo courtesy Nicholas Mebruer
Pictured above is the 2018 Lebanon High School girls’ basketball team. The ‘Jackets defeated the Central Bulldogs in the first round of the Missouri Class 5 District 10 tournament on Saturday at Willard High School, 63-57.


For the second time in just two days, the Lebanon girls’ basketball team defeated the Central Bulldogs. After defeating CHS on Thursday night, the ‘Jackets bounced back to play the Bulldogs in the first round of the Missouri Class 5 District 10 tournament on Saturday at Willard High School, winning 63-57.

Just like on Thursday, Lebanon got off to a nice start to the game, but allowed the Bulldogs to creep back into the contest, but were able to execute at the end of the game from the free throw line to close it out.

“The big thing is that if you lose a close ball game and you go back and look at it, chances are the difference was made at the free throw line, turnovers or rebounds,” Kelley said. “We did shoot it well from the line tonight because I felt like we needed every single one of them and it was nice to see that.”

Central freshman Makaiya Brooks torched the ‘Jackets for 37 points in their previous matchup, but LHS made it tough on her on Saturday and held her to 24 points.

Kelley said he thought his team played well on Saturday after just seeing the Bulldogs on Thursday night as they forced numerous turnovers throughout the game.

“I thought we played really well and I started to get nervous because I felt like the game we played mimicked the game we played on Thursday night where we made a run early, and they came back on us,” Kelley said. “With a kid that can shoot it as well with what they have (Brooks), you know that they are only a couple of makes away from taking the lead or getting right back into the game.

“I felt like our girls did a nice job of mixing up our defense and showing different looks to gain us some extra possessions and throw their offense off a little bit. I thought with the press we did a nice job of turning defense into offense.”

With the officials calling a tight game, the ‘Jackets found themselves in foul trouble for most of the game, but Kelley said he was proud of the way his bench unit stepped up and came ready to play.

“In a game like that this late in the season it really benefited us that everyone has seen plenty of minutes in about every game,” Kelley said. “With the fact that we have some seniors coming off the bench, they have the experience and right mindset to where they are not going to freak out, and I think that helped us down the stretch.”

After allowing plenty of paint touches in their last contest, Kelley said he wanted to amp up the pressure in this matchup.

“The big thing was that we wanted to put more pressure on their guards out on the wing so they couldn’t see the big post player on the block,” Kelley said of the game plan. “On Thursday night we were closing out to the ball, but backing off the ball and giving them a nice cushion to make a lob pass into the paint.

“We obviously wanted to know where No. 23 (Brooks) was at all time and she still had a pretty nice game, but we wanted to make sure we were closing out on her and communicating with that.”

Lebanon sophomore Jenna Glendenning led the ‘Jackets in scoring with 16 points, including going 8-9 from the charity stripe and also had five steals.

The ‘Jackets will advance to the semifinal round of the district tournament where they will meet the No. 1 seed Camdenton Lakers on Monday at 6 p.m. at Willard High School.

In their regular season matchup, the Lakers bested LHS 85-54, but Kelley said he is hoping things are different this go around.

“The last time we played them we tried to speed them (Camdenton) up and they executed at that speed, and it sped us up, and we did not execute at that speed,” Kelley said. “We are going to look to play them a lot differently than we did the first time and play more of our game instead of just going 200 miles per hour because it’s obvious that Camdenton is capable of playing fast and they like to run the floor.”


The Lebanon Daily Record

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