Coming off a tough road loss at Nixa Monday night, the Carthage girls basketball team on Tuesday made visiting Seneca look like the practice squad in a 60-21 victory for the Tigers at Carthage High School.
Consider this: In the third quarter alone, Seneca nearly tripled its entire offensive output from the first half.
Unfortunately for the visitors, the Indians scored only one point in the first quarter, and trailed 38-5 at halftime.
It was just one of those nights for the Tigers, who improved to 17-6 overall.
“I thought we played pretty solid,” Carthage coach Jim Moore said. “It was very important after a tough loss last night. We bounced back. I thought our pressure got to them early and created some easy shots for us and got us in a rhythm early. Once that happened we just ran with it.”
Carthage senior Kaylee Morgan scored 10 of her 25 points in the first eight minutes of the game. Vanessa Pawlak, a sophomore, added a pair of three pointers and Carthage led 21-1 heading into the second period.
Junior Quincy Charleston converted an old fashioned three-point play early in the second, then Morgan added two baskets and Pawlak scored two points. At that point, Carthage led 28-1 just 57 seconds into the second quarter.
Seneca finally broke its scoring drought when sophomore Bailey Skelton scored at the 5:33 mark, but Charleston and Morgan scored again and the Indians missed two free throws. By the time Seneca’s Rachel Butterfield scored with 2:40 left in the half, the Indians already trailed by 29 points, and a bucket by Carthage junior Emily Goeken and a steal and a basket by senior Hannah Blount sent the Tigers into the half with a commanding 38-5 lead.
Seneca finally started to warm up in the third quarter. Sophomore Molli Cooper made two free throws, Skelton scored and freshman Mirana Heath made the front end of a trip to the charity stripe, then Cooper added a free throw and a three pointer.
It wasn’t enough, however, as Carthage increased its lead from 33 points to 43 with three players doing most of the damage. Blount scored six points in the third on a pair of three’s, Morgan tallied nine and junior Chloe’ Shepherd added four.
That made it 57-14 after three quarters, and the Tigers enjoyed the courtesy clock most of the fourth.
“I thought Hannah Blount shot the ball pretty well from the outside,” Moore said. “She missed a couple layups inside, which is ironic. She played pretty solid. I thought every one of our players played pretty well. Somebody that doesn’t get a lot of credit sometime in the scoring column, but does huge things for us is Quincy Charleston. A lot of times the things she does for us don’t show up in the boxscore, but her defense inside and how strong she is and how big she is on rebounds, that’s just as big for us as somebody averaging 20 points. She had a good game again tonight. Chloe’ Shepherd ran the floor well tonight, and whenever she’s running the floor that hard and stretching the defense out it creates penetration lanes for Kaylee (Morgan) and for our other girls to be able to take it to the hole.”
Page 2 of 2 - Blount finished with 11 points for the Tigers, and Pawlak added eight. Shepherd scored six, Charleston had five, Goeken finished with four and sophomore Leigh Ann Craig had a point.
Carthage hosts Willard at 6 p.m. Thursday.