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GIRLS HOOPS: McDonald County shakes off slow start and rallies past Webb City

Lucas Davis

WEBB CITY, Mo. —  McDonald County rebounded from a slow first quarter and built a double-digit lead over Webb City by the intermission on the way to a 58-49 win over the Cardinals on Tuesday.

Webb City (0-4) forced McDonald County (5-1) into several early turnovers and held a 10-5 advantage heading into the second period before the Mustangs righted the ship behind the strong play of freshman forward Dakota O’Brien to take a 31-18 lead into the half. Mac County pushed the lead up to 19 early in the second half and held the pace throughout the second half until the Cardinals cut it to nine late, which would be the closest Webb City would get to the lead before the final horn.  

“This was a huge win,” McDonald County coach Sean Crane said. “Anytime we can come here and beat Webb City, it’s a big win for our ball club. … I was very impressed after we didn’t play well early, to handle that (adversity) and get back in the groove. ”


Webb City led 10-5 heading into the second period before McDonald County found life behind its first-year forward. O’Brien scored eight of her team’s first 10 points of the quarter to put the Mustangs on top 16-15 near the five-minute mark.

“Dakota is a high-energy player for us and does a great job to give us that energy boost,” Crane said. “She does a great job on the boards, too. We did a good job of getting her in spots to where she can be successful, making plays to get her the ball.”

Senior guard Carlee Cooper pulled up near the baseline for a mid-range basket before another inside bucket from O’Brien extended the lead to two possessions, 20-16, with three minutes left in the first half.

Cooper added two more free throws to kick off and added a fast-break score off a turnover for a 24-16 lead in favor of the Mustangs. Another score on the break from sophomore G Carlie Martin was matched by an inside bucket from Webb City freshman Abby Sargent to make the score 27-18.

Mac County closed the first half with an inside bucket from O’Brien and an elbow jumper by sophomore F Jamie Washam to lead 31-18 at the intermission, outscoring the Cardinals 26-8 in the second period.

“We quit turning the ball over,” Crane said when asked the biggest difference in his team’s play between the first and second quarters. “We didn’t run our offense the entire first quarter because we were throwing the ball away constantly. After we quit doing that, I thought we got under control and our defense was good.”

McDonald County scored the first two baskets out of the break on inside looks from Washam and O’Brien to push the lead to 19 and play that pace throughout the third quarter, ultimately taking a 45-30 lead into the fourth quarter after a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Sargent to end the third period. 

The Mustangs held the double-digit advantage for most of the final eight minutes until the Cardinals made a run late to cut the lead to single digits, 56-47, when senior G Malorie Stanley knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing with 1:38 left in regulation.

Nine points would be as close as Webb City would get before the final horn.

“This was a huge road win for us,” Crane said. “We went to Hillcrest early and got off to a bad start in a hostile environment, getting down as much as 14 before battling all the way back to win. I knew we’d been in those situations before. I thought we handled ourselves really well and never really got uncomfortable. We knew Webb was going to try to make a run, but I thought we made a good job of staying under control and executing when they did.”


McDonald County shot 47.8 percent from the field, while holding Webb City to 25.9 percent shooting in the game. The Mustangs didn’t make a 3-pointer in the win, but did make 14-of-22 free throws. MCHS won the turnover battle 26-24 and outscored WCHS 20-17 on points off turnovers.

Webb City won the rebounding battle 41-36 and outscored McDonald County 15-8 in second-chance points.

O’Brien led all scorers with a game-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including seven makes from the free-throw line. She added eight rebounds, an assist, two steals and a block. Washa finished with 12 points, four rebounds and three blocks. Martin closed with nine points, five rebounds and six assists, while Cooper had eight points, on rebounds and an assist.

Sargent led Webb City in scoring with 13 points and 11 rebounds to finish with a double-double. She also had two steals and two assists. Addie Burns added 12 points and five rebounds, while Stanley finished with nine points, four rebounds and two steals. 


McDonald County (5-1) hosts the Lady Mustang Classic from Dec. 11-13.

“We are doing a good job,” Crane said of his team’s start to the season. “I am very happy with where we are at. The big thing that I like—we are not settling. … We have put a lot of time and effort into putting ourselves in this situation. We kind of knew what we had—maybe other people did not—but we knew what we had coming with the work we’ve put in. We know the opportunity that we have and the big thing is we cannot settle and have to keep getting better because everyone else will, too.”

Webb City (0-4) is at Shiloh Christian on Dec. 8.


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