The College of the Ozarks Lady Bobcats continued their long stretch of road games Tuesday, traveling to Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas.
The first frame started slow on the offensive end for both teams, but a Katie Turner basket with 8:43 on the clock put the Scots on the board. The Lady Cats answered on the next possession with a Michelle Gabani basket and the battle was on. The teams began to trade baskets, and neither could build a lead. Katie Turner scored the first six points for Lyon and the Lady Cats trailed 6-4 at the 5:34 mark. The first three of the game came from the hands of the Scots’ Mari Hanna Newsome and Lyon took a 9-4 lead. A Kayley Frank three and two free throws tied it at 9-9, but Katie Turner added to her total to put Lyon back in front. Another Scots three made expanded the lead to 14-9 before Kayley frank drained a three and Annie Noah scored inside to tie the score again. A Kayley Frank bucket at the buzzer gave the Lady Cats their first lead, 16-14 after the first quarter.
The Lady Cat offense hit a cold streak to start the second quarter and the Scots took advantage. An 11-0 Lyon run was finally broken with a Stevi Jones three at the 6:48 mark. With the lid finally off the basket, the Lady Cats put together a run of their own. Threes by Frank and Katie Mayes, combined with an Annie Noah basket inside, put the Lady Cats back on top, 27-25, with 2:45 remaining in the half. Lyon scored their first points since the 6:59 mark on the next possession with a Kristen Baham three to regain the lead. Another Frank two and a Kyra Hardesty three in the final 1:14 of the quarter sent the game to the intermission knotted at 32.
If the first half was any indication, this game was set to go down to the wire. Aside from the two short runs in the second quarter, neither team was able to build and advantage, and maintain it. Lyon struck first in the third quarter, but Kyra Hardesty responded with her second three of the night. Kayley Frank scored the next seven points for the Lady Cats fueling a 7-2 run. With the Lady Cats holding their largest lead of the contest, 42-38, Lyons’ Paige Kelley jumped into the scoring column to cut the lead to two. After a Michelle Gabani basket at the 6:21 mark, the Lady Cats hit another offensive cold stretch and had to rely on their defense. Lyon would go on a 6-0 run before Jordan Wersinger scored with 2:32 remaining. Another 7-1 Lyon run ended the quarter and the Lady Cats trailed at the break, 51-47.
The Lady Cats could not seem to get the upper hand as Lyon continued to hold off their efforts. An Annie Noah two cut the gap to 51-49 with 8:42 left to play but Katie Turner quickly answered for the Scots. Baskets by Michelle Gabani and Annie Noah evened the score at 53 but another Mari Hanna Newson three thwarted the Lady Cat take over bid. A Frank score and a Noah free throw tied the score again, 56-56, with 4:09 left to play. You had to get the feeling that if the Lady Cats could take the lead, they would secure the win. A Lady Cat foul, on a Marleigh Dodson three-point attempt, resulted in three made free throws for the Scots. Another Katie Turner two, put the Scots up five, with 2:28 to play and the pressure mounted. Kyra Hardesty scored with 1:42 remaining to cut the deficit to three but the Scots were able to hold off the late charge and took the contest 62-58.
The Lady Cats were led by Kayley Franks’ 24 points and eight rebounds while shooting 4-5 beyond the arc. Annie Noah added nine points and 12 rebounds. Kyra Hardesty contributed eight points, Michelle Gabani – six, Blythe Benefield, Katie Mayes, and Stevi Jones each added three, and Jordan Wersinger chipped in two.
The Lady Cats will be back in action Saturday as the head to Atchison, Kansas to take on Benedictine College in a 5:30 PM start.