Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Mark Twain sweeps at home

  • The Mark Twain boys and girls basketball teams each won their season openers against Community R-VI (Laddonia) on Tuesday night in Center. The girls won 37-35 on a last-minute surge, and the boys won 46-33.

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    The Mark Twain girls basketball team set off their season with a last-minute 37-35 victory at home against Community R-VI out of Laddonia on Tuesday night.
    Senior Alissa Keil capped a fourth-quarter comeback with a pair of free throws with 17.6 seconds to play to give the Lady Tigers at 36-35 lead. Danielle Epperson added a point eight seconds later, and the visitors’ final push ended with a putback attempt coming too late to count.
    Keil said that standing at the line with seconds to go and a one-point deficit was “intense.”
    “I can make it during practice,” Keil said. “So I reminded myself of that. I knew I could make it.”
    The Tigers trailed as much as 17-8 in the second quarter after a 10-0 Trojans’ run. Taylor Stuart was able to snap that with a jumper, which set off a series of mid-range shots from the Tigers, adding a dimension to their offense. Lesley Carlisle and Ashley Keil each hit baskets in the closing minutes of the first half to help the home team hit halftime trailing 25-22.
    The superior height and length of the visitors was starting to assert itself, but in the third quarter Mark Twain was able to push the issue and force the game into a higher pace.
    “The thing that helped us win the game is that we put them under constant pressure,” said Mark Twain head coach Mark Sanders. “We don’t have a lot of height, but we make up for it with speed. They tried to beat us down the floor, but we caught up with them and forced some shots. We didn’t want to play a half-court game with them, we tried to make them go up and down the floor.”
    The up-and-down-the-court pressure forced fouls and turnovers out of the visitors.
    Alissa Keil’s final free throws pushed her total into double-digits and she finished the game with a team-high 10 points. Danielle Epperson had seven, and Stuart and Carlisle scored five points each.
    Hudson said the team was playing hard in the first half, but more effectively in the second.
    “At halftime, we looked at our five keys on the board and were maybe doing one of them: playing hard,” Hudson said. “We weren’t rebounding, we weren’t passing well, we weren’t blocking out. I told them if we did maybe three of five in the second half, we’d have a chance to win.”
    The Tigers outscored the visitors 15-10 in the fourth quarter, the only quarter they led.
    The Mark Twain boys basketball team never trailed in a 46-33 victory against Community R-VI, with Steven Phillips leading the way with 17 points.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Tigers built an 8-4 lead in the first quarter and went into the break up 20-16, then a quick third-quarter run put them up as much as 30-18.
    “Just last week I heard coach Anderson at Missouri say ‘There’s no such thing as an ugly win,’” said Mark Twain coach Greg Gatson. “That was maybe an ugly win for us, but we were glad to have it. We knew they were a big team, and we thought they’d play more zone but they played us man-to-man, but we were able to pull away eventually.”
    Gatson said the team is still a little banged up from many of the top players having a long run in the football playoffs.
    “I told the kids we wanted to win,” he said. “We maybe wanted to score more, but they hunkered down and grinded out the victory.”
    Mark Twain 37,
    Community R-VI 35
    MT scoring
    Alissa Keil 10, Danielle Epperson 7, Taylor Stuart 5, Lesley Carlisle 5, Ashley Keil 4, Kristen Hamilton 4, Kayla Palmer 2
    Mark Twain 46,
    Community R-VI 33
    MT scoring
    Skyler Jameson 3, Garrett Jarman 10, Steven Phillips 17, Derrick Miller 7, Austin Hardy 5, Keith Ganaway 4
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