Poplar Bluff girls run away in 3rd quarter to win conference opener

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. — Kiley Bess scored nine of Poplar Bluff’s 14 third-quarter points as the Mules ran away to a win in their SEMO Conference opener Thursday night.

The Mules allowed just two points in the third and Bess finished with a game-high 20 points in a 41-29 win at Cape Central.

“All in all, defensively we’re playing pretty good,” Mules coach John David Pattillo said. “In the first half we gave up a little dribble penetration.”

Poplar Bluff (7-4, 1-0 SEMO) held an opponent to under 30 points for the fourth time this season and gave up 10 or less points in the second half for the second time in as many games.

The Mules led 24-19 at halftime and led by 17 heading into the fourth quarter.

Katie Pattillo hit the second 3-pointer in the third while Abby Turner chipped in a basket as the Mules outscored Central 14-2 in the quarter.

Pattillo had six points while Turner, Emma Johnson and Sierra Sievers each scored four points for the Mules.

Bess is 14 points shy of 1,900 for her career, reaching 200 for the season Thursday. The senior scored at least 20 points for the 16th time in 21 career conference contests, averaging 26.0 per game over the last four years.

The Tigers (8-4, 0-1) were led in scoring by 6-foot sophomore Ella Vogel’s eight points while freshman Taylor Horton and senior Olivia Koch each scored seven.

The teams were tied at 9-all after one quarter.

Bess, Pattillo and Hannah Bass each sank a 3-pointer in the second to build a 24-19 halftime advantage.

“I thought our second half, especially our third quarter, we played pretty well,” Coach Pattillo said.

The Mules extended a win streak over Central to 16 games dating back to 2010 after also winning 60-35 in the opening round of the SEMO Conference Tournament in December.

Poplar Bluff is off until Jan. 18 when the Mules travel to Tennessee to face unbeaten Ensworth.

In the junior varsity game, Poplar Bluff had six players with four points each in a 38-28 loss.

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