Ladybirds ease past Lady Bulldogs

Dak Dillon/FULTON SUN photo: North Callaway senior guard Kelsey West launches a shot over South Callaway sophomore forward Jenna Boulger during the Ladybirds’ 50-20 MMC victory over the Lady Bulldogs on Thursday night at Kingdom City.

Dak Dillon/FULTON SUN photo: North Callaway senior guard Kelsey West launches a shot over South Callaway sophomore forward Jenna Boulger during the Ladybirds’ 50-20 MMC victory over the Lady Bulldogs on Thursday night at Kingdom City.

The last few times the North Callaway Ladybirds and South Callaway Lady Bulldogs have played each other, the action hasn’t been baseline to baseline so much as it has been from charity stripe to charity stripe.

When the Lady Bulldogs and Ladybirds played in Mokane on Dec. 13, they combined for 82 free throw attempts, causing North Callaway head coach Jack Peace to plan accordingly.

“We knew that was going to be something coming in, so we had to take care of stuff from the line,” Peace said. “If history held true, there’d be a lot of fouls taken.”

It all worked out as the Ladybirds hit 18-of-26 freebies to cruise to a 50-20 Mid-Missouri Conference victory over the rival Lady Bulldogs on Thursday night.

North Callaway (6-10, 3-3 MMC) got three straight 3-pointers to open the game from senior forward Morgan Brown Emmons, who was one of two players in double figures for the Ladybirds with 11 points.

But for all intents and purposes, the game went into 24 minutes of bonus free throw basketball at the end of the first quarter, which North Callaway led 12-5. Both teams got their only field goals of the second quarter via conventional three-point plays.

North Callaway junior guard Jordan Gray hit a turnaround jumper at the 7:39 mark of the quarter and converted a free throw to give the Ladybirds a 15-5 advantage. South Callaway sophomore Michaela Nolting, the team’s leading scorer with 10 points, did the same with just under three minutes left in the half to bring her team to within 18-10.

Besides that, the two squads put up 25 of their 53 free throw attempts in the second quarter. Referees called a tight game, including a technical on South Callaway head coach Doug Sain for arguing a potential over-and-back call on Gray at midcourt. That led to two made free throws by Gray with 1:19 left in the half.

“I don’t think the game was won or lost at the line, I just think that when North Callaway and South Callaway play each other, it’s going to be physical,” Sain said. “I think both teams played real hard, but it was just a case of them (North Callaway) being a little older and getting the ball in the basket.”

The third quarter was all North Callaway, which broke out a 1-2-2 trapping scheme on defense. The result was a third-quarter goose egg for the South Callaway offense and 13 more points for the Ladybirds. They even managed to net three baskets, two of which were 3-pointers from Gray.

She led all scorers with 13 points.

“You’re just trying to force people to play faster than they’re capable of and that’s what we did with them tonight,” Peace said.

Sain, expecting nothing less than a battle when it comes to the two rivals, could only sit on the sideline and watch his team get shut out in the third quarter. While obviously not hitting a single field goal, the Lady Bulldogs (0-15, 0-5 MMC) also went 0-for-5 from the line during the period.

“Scoring is always the last thing that comes with a team,” Sain said. “We’re playlng hard and doing the right things, but we have to find spots on the floor and that comes last.”

The South Callaway junior varsity team squeaked out a 32-30 win Thursday night. Freshman Marina Wimmer led the Lady Bulldogs with 14 points, while the Ladybirds received 13 points each from freshman forwards Kelsey Coil and Tara Oberlag.

Both North Callaway and South Callaway play again on Monday. The Ladybirds host Eldon in a non-conference matchup, while the Lady Bulldogs travel to Harrisburg — ranked No. 3 in Class 2 — for an MMC contest.

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