By JASON STRICKLAND
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) – The Warrensburg Lady Tigers (2-6) came up short against Marshall (6-2) in a 41-37 loss Tuesday night.
The game was all about runs, as Warrensburg started the game up 4-0 in the first minute. But an 11-0 run by the Lady Owls made it 11-4 with 1:26 left in the first.
“That’s the biggest reason that we are 2-6 right now is because we just give up those runs,” said coach Bob Rickman. “It deflates our confidence and kind of turns the game around on us.”
Marshall, which beat Warrensburg 57-34 in the Marshall tournament Nov. 29, used a 13-4 run to go up 32-29 to end the third, and a 5-0 run in the middle of the fourth to make it 38-33 Lady Owls with 3:52 left in the game.
Another reason for the loss was the inability to end the game strong. Senior point guard Taylor Geis stole the ball and laid it in to make it 40-37 Marshall with 1:22 remaining, but turnovers and missed shots allowed Marshall to hold on to the lead and the win.
“That late game moment, it’s hard to duplicate those against your JV players,” Rickman said. “They are just not seasoned enough to be able to handle it.”
Warrensburg only has two seniors, so they will work on those situations before competing in the Rolla Tournament Dec. 27-29.
“I think the biggest thing for us is we just got to go through as many game situations as possible,” Rickman said. “That’s kind of hard when our roster is so short of varsity players. We’ve got freshman and sophomores on JV that just aren’t at the point to put varsity level pressure on them.”
A couple of bright spots on the Lady Tigers team were Geis and junior Bekka Strahle, who had 12 points and 13 points, respectively.
Both made the big plays for the Lady Tigers. Geis fed Strahle for a layup on a run-and-gun possession to tie the game up at 11 with 5:15 left in the first half.
Strahle finished a 5-0 run early in the third by laying it in to make it 25-19 Warrensburg – its biggest lead of the game.
Geis tied the game at 33 with 5 minutes left in the game by grabbing an offensive rebound and putting it through the hoop. She also had a steal with 2:48 left in the game that turned into a fast break layup by her to make it 38-35 Owls.
Marshall’s leading scorer was junior Karson Heying who knocked in 12 to go along with seven rebounds. Sophomore Molly Williams had 10 points, while senior Stephanie Markes had 8 points and seven rebounds.
Donations for the United Way of Western Connecticut were accepted at the game to support the victims of the school shooting in Newtown. Before the game, senior forward McKayla Wilbanks read a poem about the shooting written by a Warrensburg High School faculty member just before a moment of silence.
“I told the girls before the game, I said, ‘You’ve got to be thankful for the time that you’ve got because all of those children that died, they’re never going to get the opportunity that you’ve got tonight,’” Rickman said.
After the Lady Tigers play in the Rolla Tournament, they will compete in the Lotspeich Motors Central Missouri Shootout on Jan. 5 against Oak Grove at 7 p.m.
In other action, the Warrensburg boys beat Marshall 57-50 on the road.