Hoxie turns back Lady Lions in 3A-3 District play

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Manila's Taylor Harmon drives past Hoxie's Kelsey Moody during the Lady Lions 50-46 loss in the 3A-3 District Tournament Thursday night at Manila. (Town Crier photos/Trent Fletcher)

Hoxie took advantage of a controversial call late in Thursday night's quarterfinal 3A-3 District Tournament game against Manila to post a hard fought 50-46 victory over the Lady Lions.

The two teams were tied 46-46 following a free throw by Manila's Courtney Scott with 1:03 left in the game. A Lady Lion foul sent Hoxie's Devyn Pollard to the line where the sophomore guard calmly sank both attempts to put the Lady Mustangs on top 48-46 with 48 seconds remaining in the contest.

On Manila's ensuing possession, Lady Lion Taylor Harmon drove through the lane and fired up an off balance one-hander which banked through the net while a whistle sounded. It looked as though Harmon had tied the game and would go to the line with a chance to put Manila on top. Instead, an offensive foul on Harmon was called, wiping out the game tying bucket as shock and disapproval reigned down from the home fans.

Lady Lion Lauren Woody dives for a loose ball as Hoxie's Becca Kopp looks on. Hoxie defeated Manila 60-46 to advance to this week's regional tournament at Manila.

Forced to foul, the Lions sent Krista VanKirk to the charity stripe where the Lady Mustang sank both foul shots to ice the game away for Hoxie.

"We missed way too many free throws to win the game," said Lady Lion Coach Mark Manchester. "We had our opportunities at the line and we couldn't convert. Hoxie's zone gave us problems and it's no secret that our outside shooting is our weakness. Moving forward, we have to get better at that with our younger kids. Hoxie did a good job. They had a good game plan and they played hard. They made shots and they made their free throws. We battled hard and I thought we really got a tough call near the end of the game. That was just a tough break for us."

Manila took a 17-12 lead after the first period as Harmon pitched in seven points while Lauren Woody and Jordyn Wheeler added five points apiece.

Manila maintained its advantage throughout most of the second quarter until Hoxie rallied late, taking the lead on back to back buckets by Pollard and Becca Kopp to grab a 23-22 edge at the half.

Harmon began the third period with a three pointer to put the Lady Lions on top by two before Hoxie battled back to square the game 29-all at the 4:02 mark. Consecutive VanKirk buckets, followed by a pull-up jumper from Kelsey Moody, stretched the Lady Mustang lead to 35-29. The Hoxie advantage swelled to nine points, thanks to a three point play by VanKirk and another Moody bucket before a pair of Harmon free throws sliced the Hoxie lead to 40-33 entering the fourth quarter.

Poor free throw shooting hampered the Lady Lions in the final frame as Manila hit just 8-16 charity tosses, including only three of their last eight attempts. Hoxie fared better from the line, hitting six in a row during one stretch in the fourth quarter to help secure the win.

Harmon finished with a game high 19 points to lead Manila while Woody tallied 13. Wheeler scored seven, Hannah McQueen had four while Scott and Hannah Teague finished with two and one respectively. Manila made 20-34 free throws and hit two three pointers while turning the ball over 22 times.

VanKirk paced Hoxie with 16 points while Moody added 10. The Lady Mustangs hit 12-21 foul shots and finished with 16 turnovers.

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