Naylor girls basketball capitalizes on Twin Rivers' cold shooting to advance to LRC semifinals

Twin Rivers’ Abbey Hester (right) drives the baseline against Naylor’s Ebby Moman during the first quarter of the quarterfinal round matchup in the Twin Rivers Lady Royals Christmas Classic on Monday night at Broseley.
DEXTER STATESMAN/Kyle Smith

BROSELEY — The host Twin Rivers Royals suffered through an off shooting night Monday in the Lady Royals Classic girls basketball tournament.

The sixth-seeded Royals shot 22 percent (10 of 45) from the field, and the third-seeded Naylor Eagles beat them 48-26 in the quarterfinal round matchup.

Naylor (7-4) will meet Doniphan in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Doniphan beat Dexter 54-24 later Monday night. Twin Rivers (4-7) will meet Dexter in a fifth-place semifinal at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

“We couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean,” Twin Rivers coach David Crockett said. “We were missing wide-open shots. When you’re missing wide-open shots and when you’re having to shoot contested shots, it’s not a good recipe for a win.”

The two teams met Dec. 12 with Naylor winning 57-45.

“They play hard,” Naylor coach Gene Deckard said of the Royals. “I was proud of my kids coming out here and matching their intensity. Twin Rivers comes out and gets after you.”

Neither team shot the ball well in the first quarter with the Royals (4-7) going 1 for 9 (11 percent) from the field and the Eagles going 2 for 8 (25 percent).

Naylor’s pressure defense helped slow the Royals, who committed nine first-quarter turnovers.

The Eagles never trailed after Kaylynn Johnson, who scored a game-high 16 points, made a steal and a layup for a 2-0 lead. Brianna South drove the baseline to tie the score at 2, but Faith Sullivan sank two free throws and Naylor never trailed again.

The Eagles took a 9-4 lead into the second quarter where they began to build some separation.

Sullivan, McKenzie Crofford and Johnson made 3-pointers in the second, as Naylor stretched its lead to 10 (18-8). Crofford finished with 1o points.

Naylor closed the quarter on a 7-0 run — a 3-point play by Johnson, a fast-break layup by Ebby Moman and two free throws by Alyssa Urich — to take a 25-9 halftime lead.

“We’ve been working on getting up and down the floor,” Deckard said. “We’ve been doing a better job of that as of late. We started getting down the floor and getting to the bucket and getting some wide-open looks and puts some points on the board.”

The Eagles scored seven straight points early in the third quarter to extend their lead to 32-11, and Johnson and Harley Sullivan hit 3-pointers late to give them a 40-17 lead entering the fourth.

“They shot the ball really well,” Crockett said of the Eagles. “Sometimes they were wide-open and they knocked those shots down just like good teams do. Tonight just wasn’t our night. We’ll come back and get ready to play on Friday.”

Twin Rivers showed a bit of life in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Eagles 9-8. South scored six of her eight points in the final period.

Abbey Hester paced Twin Rivers with 10 points.

Naylor916158— 48
Twin Rivers458926

NAYLOR — Crofford 1(2) 2-3 10. Johnson 3(2) 4-5 16. F. Sullivan 0(1) 3-9 6. Shepard 2(0) 3-10 7. Urich 1(0) 2-3 4. Moman 1(0) 0-1 2. H. Sullivan 0(1) 0-0 3. Totals 8(6) 14-31 48.

TWIN RIVERS — Thurman 1(0) 0-0 2. Hester 2(1) 3-8 10. South 4(0) 0-0 8. Foust 0. Williams 0(0) 1-2 1. Johnson 0. Bader 1(0) 1-2 3. Casteel 0. Gold 0. Arnold 0(0) 0-1 0. Baxter 1(0) 0-0 2. Love 0. Yeley 0. Totals 9(1) 5-13 48.

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