A streak of wins for GHS Lady Bulldogs Gainesville girls make it past Norwood in first round of Class 2 District 4 tournament

Gainesville freshman Erin McKinzie stands at the free throw line in the final seconds of Saturday’s game against Norwood. She sank two to seal a 52-50 win over the Lady Pirates on their home court in the first round of the Class 1 District 4 tournament. Photo by Karla Smith.

The Gainesville Lady Bulldogs pulled off a series of important wins during the past week, including Saturday’s first-round victory over Norwood in the Class 2 District 4 playoffs.

The winning streak started on Feb. 12, when Gainesville head coach Morris Jenkins declared the Lady Bulldogs’ final home game – against Norwood –   “a really good senior night win.” Shelby Smith led the scoring with 18 points in Gainesville’s 62-54 victory. Fellow senior Aspyn Britt had 15, and Elizabeth Kin-worthy scored 12. Shayla Wages led in rebounds with 8 and scored 8 points, and Britt led in assists with 6 and steals with 4. 

“Switching defenses according to what seems to be working best is a strength of this team,” said Jenkins.  “I felt we were able to create some scoring opportunities with defensive adjustments.  We had good balanced scoring, which is a reflection of good team play.

“This game was, I believe, the 100th varsity win from the four years this group of seniors has been a part of Lady Bulldog basketball, which is a very impressive record,” Jenkins added.

The seniors – Shelby Smith, Aspyn Britt and Annie Noah (who had to sit out this year due to a knee injury) – have only had two losses on their home court and have won three district and conference titles so far.  

Gainesville’s junior varsity team also pulled off a win over Norwood, scoring 36 to 25. Wages led in points with 14, Brexton Miller added 10 and Gracie Strain scored 6. Teagan Broderick, Danni Cummings and Patience Naegele rounded out the score with 2 points each.

On Feb. 15, the Lady Bulldogs traveled to Conway, where they defeated the Indians 54-44.

“It was a good team win on the road,” said Jenkins. “We did a good job of getting the ball in good scoring spots and finishing. We maintained our poise well late in the game when the intensity of a close game increased.” 

Kinworthy led the scoring with 26 points. Other players scoring were Smith 11, Wages 6, Carlo 5, Kiger 3, Britt 2 and McKinzie 1. 

The JV team also defeated Conway, with a final score of 37-19. “The JV team finished the season with a record of 8-4.  I would like to credit them for their commitment,” Jenkins said. “Some schools didn’t have enough players to play JV games, so our team’s willingness to stay the course through a sporadic schedule and still improve is very encouraging.” 

The Lady Bulldogs ended the week on Saturday with their first-round district win over tournament host Norwood.  It was a close game, 52-50. “It seemed to be a game of runs, with both teams having good scoring stretches.  We won the second quarter 13-2, and then they put up 23 points in the third quarter,” said Jenkins. “Foul trouble changed our rotations some, but we were able to stay the course and pull out a close win,” Jenkins said.

“Being able to make plays when you’re down in a game is crucial. I felt our team was able to do that as we faced a deficit at different times in the fourth quarter and were able to get key stops on defense and hit some big baskets and free throws,” he said.

Players scoring for Gainesville were Kinworthy 18, Wages 11, Smith 10, Britt 8, Carlo 3 and McKinzie 2. 

The Gainesville team (19-8) fell to Fordland (21-6) 34-39 Tuesday, Feb. 20, following the Hartville (22-3) vs. Mansfield (15-11) game in the second round of the Class 2 District 4 tournament Tuesday. Hartville beat out Mansfield 62-36, leading them to take on Fordland in the district championship at 6 p.m. Feb. 23. 

Ozark County Times

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