By Richard Sharp
Lake Area Sports
BATESVILLE- Playing in their first Mark Martin Automotive Lyon College Invitational in over five years, the West Side Lady Eagles and Eagles combined to play a grand total of five games starting last Monday and running through Saturday, as the Eagles went 1-1 with a loss to Thayer (MO) and a win against Melbourne while the Lady Eagles went 2-1 with a loss to Southside and victories over Cave City and Wynne to claim third place in the event.
Lady Eagles-64 Cave City-46
Sophomore Ashtyn Knapp carried the reins for the Lady Eagles in their tournament opener, scoring 18 of her game-high 25 points in the first half, as West Side led 23-7, 35-20 and 52-30 at the quarter breaks. Following Knapp in the scoring department were seniors Madison Bailey and Alex Southerland, who had 15 and 11, respectively. Sophomore Sarah Carlton added 9 on three three-pointers. The Class 4A Cavewomen were led by Katie Walling and Cierra Williams’ 12 as well as Kaylee Howard’s 11.
Thayer (MO)-50 Eagles-41
In a battle of two young teams that matched up similarly across the board, the Bobcats from the Show-Me State outlasted the Eagles in this first round matchup, as sophomore guard Jordan Andrews pumped in a game-high 22 points for the team boasting six juniors and six sophomores.
Thayer took an early 13-2 advantage before West Side stormed back with a 17-4 run to give themselves the first lead of the night thanks to an old-fashioned three-point play from junior forward Malachi Miller, as Logan Doss scored over two defenders to cut it to two at 21-19 heading into the locker room.
Junior Jayce Haven came through with a three-point play to give the Bobcats the lead out of the break, growing to six on a trifecta from Andrews. The Eagles kept it close with a triple from the right corner from junior Asa Carr, trailing 36-30 with eight minutes remaining.
The Thayer lead swelled to double digits on a driving score from Andrews, eventually getting it up to fifteen on a finger roll finish from Andrews to make it 45-32. Junior Jake Ballard and Miller provided the final four points of the contest to bring the final to 50-41, as the Bobcats advanced to the semifinal round to take on Batesville.
Andrews rang up 22 for the winners, while Miller had 15 for West Side, who fell into the consolation round with the loss.
The Eagles took to the floor for the second time in as many days, edging the Bearkatz in a hard-fought 43-42 victory that seen the two teams battle it out to a 16-16 tie before going into the intermission tied at 27-all. Melbourne found themselves with a slip 37-34 advantage after three quarters, however West Side rallied with a 9-5 final quarter run to steal the win. Malachi Miller posted 19 points for the Eagles while Travis Gentry added 12. The Bearkatz got 12 from Ty Miller and 10 from Remi Lawrence.
Southside-58 West Side-49
The Lady Southerners punched their ticket to the championship game with hot shooting all around, leading 12-8 on four three-pointers, extending the advantage to double digits at 26-16 on two more triples, staying in front 37-28 before the two squads matched each other scoring wise 21-21 in the fourth frame. Alex Southerland racked up 17 points as Knapp was close behind with 14. Junior London Cuzzort had a game-high 20 for Southside, followed by 18 for senior Reese Gardner as the Lady Southerners advanced to the title game against Mountain View.
West Side-38 Wynne-33
The Megan Berry-led Lady Eagles ended the week on a positive note with a third place tournament finish after clawing their way to a 38-35 triumph over Class 4A Wynne, their second victory over a 4A opponent in six days.
Madison Bailey set the tone for West Side early on, providing seven of the team’s eleven first quarter points before Ashtyn Knapp added two baskets of her own, however the Lady Yellowjackets kept it close with two jump shots from Zahyria Baker to knot the affair up at 18-18 with the second half hanging in the balance.
The third quarter proved to be just as close as the second, with West Side winning it 10-9 for a one-point advantage in thanks to six big points inside from Alex Southerland. Knapp took back the steering wheel and knocked down four foul shots and added in a jumper to secure the win and third place for the Lady Eagles, serving as the leading scorer with 12 points. Bailey (11) and Southerland (10) each contributed with double-digit scoring efforts.
Knapp, who scored 51 points in three games for an average of 17 points per game, was selected to the All-Tournament Team alongside Josie Storey and Chaelann Vickers of Mountain View, Reese Gardner and Shelby Warden of Southside and tournament MVP Aubrey Isbell of Mountain View.