BY TRAVIS DAVID
WRIGHT CITY — It’s never easy to bounce back from a loss in which a 14-point fourth-quarter lead was squandered.
The Mark Twain girls’ basketball team was faced with this task Monday night by hitting the road at Eastern Missouri Conference foe Wright City.
A hangover from Friday night’s stunning loss at Marion County left the Lady Tigers in an 11-2 hole in the first quarter. But the Lady Tigers rallied for the final eight points of the opening frame before outscoring the hosts 18-8 in the second period en route to a 60-48 road win.
Mark Twain’s rally was started by its defense.
“After the slow start, I was happy to see us flip the switch and it really was because of our defensive pressure,” Lady Tigers’ second-year coach Matt Boswell said. “They have one of the best athletes in the conference in Jasmine Simpson, so our game plan coming in was to have everyone ready to step up and to help (on her) to force someone else to beat us.”
With the defense setting the tone, Emma Ross made sure the Tigers offense kept the momentum. After tallying 13 points in the first half, the Mark Twain senior dropped six more points in the third as the Tigers extended their lead to 48-34 heading into the final eight minutes of play.
Wright City had trimmed the Tigers’ lead down to three points with just over two minutes left in the third before Mark Twain quickly pushed the lead back to a comfortable advantage.
Ross netted eight more points in the final frame — finishing with 27 for the game — to help hold the Wildcats at bay.
Liz Trower knocked down a pair of three 3-pointers in the win to finish with 10 points, while Audrey Ross (6), Emily Evans (6) and Anna Echternacht (5) combined for 17 points.
Boswell mentioned strong play from the Tigers on the inside is what helped lead them to the road win.
“We knew we had an opportunity to be successful getting the ball inside and crashing the boards with Emma Ross, Anna and Emily,” the Lady Tigers’ coach said. “So I am really pleased with how the girls executed tonight.
“There’s still some things we need to clean up, especially learning to close out games as we try to develop a culture of winning, but overall I am happy with the effort and our energy tonight.”
With the win the Lady Tigers improve to 8-9 overall and 3-1 in league play. Mark Twain will return to the court on Friday against another EMC foe, Van-Far, in the Tigers’ Courtwarming Game.