Heavy Shooting, Great Defense Lead To Lady Pirates’ Fifth-Straight Victory

INDEPENDENCE, Kan. - Riding the winds of another victory, the Independence Lady Pirates hosted the Neosho County Panthers set to duel out another victory. There was a lot of intensity, but as soon as Independence got an edge they never looked back, taking their fifth straight victory, 93-79. 

The Lady Pirates had five players in double figures led by Brittany Reeves with 23 points, Fatarah Kinnard with 16 points, Mychaell Gray with 15 points and 12 points each for Kierra Crockett and Macie Price. Reeves also recorded a double-double with 12 rebounds. 

"I think the biggest thing to look at here was that we had five players in double figures and one that was close to that with nine points," coach Leslie Crane said. "We out rebounded them by twelve and a good part of that was by our guards and we held them to eight offensive rebounds to our twenty-six handling their traps and press to not get rattled and get the ball to our bigs underneath." 

"For Monday's game vs Butler, we've got to keep rebounding and keep our turnovers down, because they're just as quick as we are and work the ball inside as much as possible. They're a really good team that will play tight defense and we've got to know where their shooters are to keep the pressure on them and keep the game plan going just like tonight." 

In the first quarter, a quick basket for Brittany Reeves put the Lady Pirates on the board before a pair of free throws by Alexis Casher, but a basket by Kierra Crockett tied the game again. A bucket from Chrissy Brown tied the game again, but Crockett gave Independence a 6-4 advantage at the 8:12 mark. 

A layup from Casher tied the game at 6-6 and a three-pointer by Jessica Jones gave Neosho a three-point advantage before a basket from Victoria Mikkelsen. Brown extended the lead to three with a layup before two shots from the line for Mychaell Gray, but back to back threes for Destiny Stewart made it 17-10 at the 4:15 mark. 

A three from Macie Price and a layup by Reeves had the Lady Pirates within two before a basket from Erica Birch who pushed the lead to six with a deep three. A basket from Gray cut the lead to four before a free throw from Mikkelsen and another three for Price tied the game at 21-21 at the 38 second mark. Free throws for Gray gave Independence a two-point lead before a three from Imani Jones and the Lady Pirates trailed 24-23 at the end of the period. 

The second quarter began with a bucket from Mikkelsen and a layup from Reeves for a three-point lead. Another score for Reeves pushed the lead to five before a bucket from Hayley Stiger and a three from Jones tied it up at 29-29 with 6:07 left in the half. 

A bucket for Casher and a jumper by Gray kept it tied at 31-31, but a three by Stewart pushed the Tigers into a three-point command before a bucket by Kelcey Hinz. A basket for Reeves put the lead back to three before two free throws by Gray and one foul shot from Hinz, but two shots from Reeves tied the game at 37-37 with 1:25 left in the half. A bank shot from Reeves gave the Lady Pirates the lead and another basket from the freshman gave Independence the lead at halftime, 41-37. 

In the third quarter, a three for Jessica Goodluck pushed the lead to seven before a bucket from Hinz and a score for Calea Augustin followed by a three for Jones to tie it at 44-44. Back to back buckets for Hinz put Neosho up by four before a free throw by Reeves, but a layup for Augustin made it 50-45 at the 6:20 mark. 

A basket by Gray cut the lead to three before a three from Stewart, but free throws for Gray cut it to four before a basket for Casher. A basket for Fatarah Kinnard cut the lead to four, but Jessica Jones made it seven before back to back buckets for Kierra Crockett made the score 58-55 at the 2:49 mark. 

A trip to the line for Reeves cut the Neosho lead down to one before a three from Price gave the Lady Pirates the lead and a basket by Gray in the final seconds of the period had Independence leading 62-58 heading into the final minutes. 

The fourth quarter began with a bucket from Brown before a layup by Crockett, but free throws for Hinz cut the lead to two before another basket for Reeves. Another three for Price pushed the Lady Pirates' lead to seven before two free throws from Sadie Jordan, but a free throw form Stiger made the score 71-64 with 6:00 remaining. 

A score for Reeves after a free throw and a score from Jessica Jones made it a six-point lead before a jumper by Stiger, but a three for Kinnard pushed the lead back to seven. Free throws for Birch cut the lead to five before a bucket from Jordan, but a trip to the line for Brown made the score 78-73 with 3:00 remaining. 

Two free throws by Mikkelsen pushed the lead back to seven before two shots by Gray and another three for Kinnard pushed Independence to its largest lead of the night at 12 points. Free throws for Jessica Jones cut the lead to ten before a trip to the line by Gray and free throws from Mikkelsen made it an 88-75 lead for Independence with 39 seconds remaining. Independence outscored Neosho 5-4 in the final seconds claiming victory once again. 

Independence (13-9, 8-7) is back at ICC Field House Monday January 11 hosting the Butler Grizzlies with tipoff set for 6 pm.