Portageville rebounds from first loss to beat Kelly

Sunday, December 23, 2007
Kelly's Kayla Cissell and Portageville's Kellye Penn fight for a loose ball Friday. (David Jenkins/Standard Democrat)

By Andrew Powell ~ sd_sports@yahoo.com

BROSELEY -- After suffering their first loss of the season, the Portageville Lady Bulldogs bounced back nicely Friday night, coming away with a 58-40 win over the Kelly Lady Hawks in the third-place game of the 11th annual Lady Royals Christmas Classic.

"A sign of a good team is one that doesn't let a loss get to them. They don't let it get them down and they push through it," said Portageville head coach Eric Ellerbrook. "We talked about it in the locker room and we came back with a good attitude, picked each other up and played as a team."

Portageville's Mallory Bidewell pulls the ball away from Kelly's Tara Johnson in the second half of Friday third place game of the Lady Royals Christmas Classic. (David Jenkins/Standard Democrat)

From the opening tipoff, both teams came out with high hopes and high intensity. But it was Portageville which managed to settle in first after back-to-back 3-pointers from Talisha Walker quickly put her team up 12-4 at the 3:15 mark. Later helping them to a 15-10 lead at the start of the second quarter.

Kelly wasted little time however in responding, as a 5-0 run tied the game at 15, eventually enabling them to take the lead at 20-19 after a Londyn Backfisch basket.

"Kelly is a very good and very well coached team," said Ellerbrook. "We knew coming in that they were going to hustle and we had to match that."

Match that they did as that would be the first and last time the Lady Hawks saw the lead when a 9-0 run, capped off by a Courtney Chamberlain 3-pointer helped the Lady Bulldogs to build a 10 point margin at halftime " , 32-22.

Give Portageville credit, they took advantage of our mistakes and that's what teams are suppose to do," said Kelly head coach Rod McQuarter. "They are very well coached with a lot of great athletes. They run a lot of nice set offenses and had a very good defensive game play."

It didn't come easy for the Lady Bulldogs though, as an aggressive Kelly team forced Portageville into playing with a smaller lineup as several key players for the Lady Bulldogs were hindered with foul trouble for most of the game.

The Lady Hawks did manage to cut the lead to single digits in the second half but another 9-0 run by Portageville proved to put them too far out of reach. They went on to extend their lead to 13 at the start of the fourth quarter before winning by a final margin of 18.

"I'm very proud of these girls to come in here and get fourth place," said McQuarter. "Our last two games we played against state-ranked teams and to come out and get fourth in this tournament is a remarkable accomplishment.

"Adversity doesn't build character, it reveals it. And I am very proud of the girls tonight they came out and did not give up. They continued to play hard. There are about 12 other teams that wish they are in our spot right now and this is a great tournament that's only preparing us for our end goal."

Portageville's Talisha Walker is guarded by Kelly's Kayla Cissell in the third place game of the Lady Royals Christmas Classic. (David Jenkins/Standard Democrat)

Senior Kellye Penn had another solid outing for the Lady Bulldogs with 17 points and 5-6 shooting from the free throw line. Walker lead the team with 19 points and three 3-pointers while Anna Long chipped in 10.

"I am extremely proud of the way our girls are playing right now," said Ellerbrook. "All we want to do is come back after Christmas and get better."

The Lady Hawks were lead by Junior Debra Hall who finished with 16 points and seven rebounds while senior Kayla Cissell followed with nine points and seven rebounds.

Portageville (13-1) will be back in action on Jan. 7 when they host the Lady Bulldogs of South Pemiscot.

Kelly (6-3) will travel to Sikeston to take on the Lady Bulldogs. Tipoffs will be tossed at 6 p.m.

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