The No. 3 Monroe City girls basketball team came up just short against its Clarence Cannon Conference nemesis in a 50-41 home loss to No. 9 Clark County on Friday night.
It had everything a game featuring two state-ranked teams should.
Monroe City and Clark County traded punches throughout its Clarence Cannon Conference showdown.
The Class 3 No. 9-ranked Lady Indians spoiled homecoming for the Class 3 No. 3 Lady Panthers with a 50-41 win Friday night.
The Lady Panthers landed the first punch, jumping out to an early 5-0 lead. But Clark County responded with a 7-0 run.
The two teams found themselves in a 10-10 deadlock after the first eight minutes of play and 23-all heading into the locker room at halftime.
Madi Hays, who returned to the Lady Panthers lineup after missing a game due to a knee injury suffered in the championship game of the Clopton Tournament, sank a 3-pointer with two seconds left in the first half to knot the score.
Clark County made a commitment to crashing the offensive boards more in the second half. It paid dividends.
Seven of the Lady Indians made baskets after intermission came on second-chance opportunities.
Clark County led 37-33 heading into the final eight minutes of play.
Jada Summers came up with an offensive putback of her own to pull the Lady Panthers even at 39 with 5:57 left in the game.
But a jumper from Aubry Boulware sparked an 11-2 run as the Lady Indians sent Monroe City to a fifth straight loss in the series.
Clark County pulled down 18 rebounds off the offensive glass.
The Lady Indians defense also forced the Lady Panthers into 22 turnovers in the game.
“We talked all week about taking care of the ball and rebounding,” Lady Panthers coach Cody Leonard said. “We made some untimely turnovers and just couldn’t get a big rebound when we needed to tonight.”
Abby Brown only scored six points for the Lady Indians, but she pulled down 12 boards in the win.
Bevans and Boulware combined for 26 points led by Bevans’ 15 — 12 in the second half.
Summers led the Lady Panthers (13-1) with a game-high 20 points and 13 rebounds.
Summers needed 20 shot attempts to score her 20 points, as the Lady Panthers pair of 6-footers (Bevans and Brown) made the 5-foot-6 Summers work hard for every point.
“It definitely impacted her shots,” the Lady Panthers coach said. “I would have like to have seen more than seven free throw attempts as physical of a game as it was, but that is just how it goes sometimes.”
Delanie Okenfuss added eight points, five rebounds and three steals in the loss, while Emilie Okenfuss (6) and Lauren Youngblood combined for 10 points.
The two teams could face each other again next week if both reach the championship of the Tony Lenzini Tournament at Palmyra.
“We will see what we can do to get better and try and get them next week,” Leonard said. “But I thought we showed a lot of fight tonight and didn’t back down from them. We just need to improve on the little things if we want to beat a team like this.”