Mark Twain raced past Eastern Missouri Conference foe Wellsville 61-31 in Center on Wednesday night.

The Mark Twain Lady Tigers had fewer than 24 hours to prepare for Wellsville.

Turns out that made little difference.

A day after topping Canton by 14 points, Mark Twain raced past Eastern Missouri Conference foe Wellsville 61-31 in Center on Wednesday night. 

“We didn't have much time to prepare for this team, but we knew coming into the game that they were a team that worked hard, they were athletic and they could hit some shots if you leave them open,” Mark Twain coach Alex Brandenburg said. “So we wanted to make sure we did our job on defense, outwork them, out-rebound them, and play our game. Fortunately, we did.”

Mark Twain (8-9, 2-0 EMO) burst out of the gate to send a message early in the contest.

By the time junior McKenzie Lathrom made a layup with 6 minutes, 9 seconds on the clock in the first quarter, the Lady Tigers had rapidly constructed a 9-0 lead.

Mark Twain led 21-10 after the first, and senior Hannah Spoonhower scored four of her 11 points in the second to help keep the Lady Tigers ahead by 12 at halftime. 

“We wanted to have some energy coming out,” Brandenburg said. “The last couple years we played this team, they've gotten out to a good start on us. We were determined to be the ones to set the tone from the start.” 

Spoonhower said the Lady Tigers have made a point to work on starting strong. 

“We were pretty confident in this game, but starting on top from the start is something we struggle with, for some reason,” she said. “Two nights in a row, we've done it.” 

Sparked by senior Kaelee Ogle, Mark Twain stayed hot in the third quarter, outscoring Wellsville 22-8 to grow its commanding lead to 52-26. Ogle scored 11 points during the period.

Mark Twain shut the door in the fourth as a running clock expedited the remainder of the contest. 

“We came out and won the second half, and that was what we needed,” Ogle said. “Winning is not easy. You have to work for it. This is a time when you want to be playing your best basketball. We have won our past three of four games, and we want to keep that winning streak going.”

Brandenburg said he continues to see progress by his team, adding he thinks the Lady Tigers are moving in the right direction with February around the corner. 

“I saw a lot of fight from us tonight,” he said. “We had a tough game last night and expended a lot of energy against Canton. To turn around and get another win is big for us.”

McKenzie Lathrom scored 17 points, while Ogle finished with 16 points, 15 boards and six assists. Maddy Ford totaled eight points and four assists.

While the final result was a blowout, Spoonhower said she and her teammates don't treat any game as a gimme — especially one they have coming up Friday night at Clark County, which is 13-2. 

“We can beat any team any night. No matter our record, we have confidence in ourselves,” she said. “So I know other teams probably feel the same way. We can't get ahead of ourselves.”