Jada Summers scored 40 points to lead the Monroe City girls basketball team past McKenzie Lathrom and Mark Twain on Monday in the Class 3 District 8 quarterfinals.
The Monroe City and Mark Twain girls basketball teams met in the first round of the Class 3 District 8 Tournament Monday night.
But a duel between Lady Panthers junior Jada Summers and Lady Tigers senior McKenzie Lathrom broke out.
Summers got the best of Lathrom with a career-high 40 points as the Lady Panthers came away with a 60-54 win.
“Jada played a heck of a game tonight and we needed it,” Monroe City coach Cody Leonard said. “She put us on her back and carried us across the finish line. That is what makes her so great.”
Summers scored 23 of her points in the second half.
The Lady Panthers needed a career night from their top scorer because Lathrom was not ready for her prep career to come to an end.
The Lady Tigers senior tallied 32 points to give the tournament’s No. 7 seed a shot at the upset.
“Can’t say enough about her and the effort she put forth tonight,” Lady Tigers coach Alex Brandenburg said. “She wanted this game so bad. She is a fighter and tonight is a perfect example of what she has left behind and her legacy.”
Lathrom connected on a trio of 3-pointers as the Lady Tigers led 9-5 with 4 minutes, 24 seconds left in the first quarter.
Monroe City recovered and led 14-13 after the first period.
Mackenzie Ogle gave Mark Twain a 15-14 lead on its first possession of the second quarter.
Ogle finished with 13 points.
A jumper by Zoe Miller and a drive by Lathrom extended the Lady Tigers lead to 21-14 with 4:59 left in the first half.
Monroe City answered with a 10-0 run to regain the lead.
But again, the underdog Lady Tigers did not go away.
Lathrom buried her fourth trey of the game to pull Mark Twain even. Ogle gave the Lady Tigers a 28-27 lead heading into the locker room as she beat the first-half buzzer with a rebound basket.
The two teams traded buckets throughout the third period.
Lathrom gave the Lady Tigers momentum heading into the final eight minutes of play as she knocked down a 3-pointer on the wing with under a second left in the third. Lathrom was fouled and sank the free throw to complete the four-point play, giving Mark Twain a 47-44 lead after three.
A rebound basket by Summers and a jumper from Emilie Okenfuss gave the Lady Panthers a 48-47 lead.
Lathrom split a pair of free throws before her drive with 6:14 left in the game gave Mark Twain a 50-48 edge.
But four straight free throws from Summers gave Monroe City a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the game.
“We did everything we needed to do tonight,” the Lady Tigers coach said. “But when it came down to it, Monroe City made some shots and we didn’t.”
A stepback 3-pointer with 20 seconds by Lathrom capped the scoring for Mark Twain and was the last bucket of her career.
The University of Missouri-St. Louis bound player mentioned she was proud of the effort from her team.
“We definitely played our hearts out and played the hardest game of the season,” she said with tears rolling down her face. “We were right there 'til the end, just didn’t fall our way.”
Summers gave praise to her counterpart as well.
“She gave us her best shot and she is an amazing player and she shows it every time she steps out on the court,” the junior said. “I hope she is just as successful in college basketball.”
The Lady Panthers playmaker added 16 rebounds in the win — 10 coming on the offensive glass.
“I am really proud with how I played tonight,” Summers said. “The new career high is really exciting and it is not something I expected to do tonight. But more importantly we were able to come out and finish when we needed to.”
Monroe City shot 17-for-32 from the charity stripe, while Mark Twain finished 8-for-14 at the line.
Emilie Okenfuss (7) and Delanie Okenfuss (6) combined for 13 points in the win.
Mark Twain finished the season with a 10-15 record.
Monroe City (23-3) will face No. 3 seed Macon in the semifinals on Wednesday night.
Monroe City defeated Macon 66-32 on Friday.
“They (Macon) will be prepared,” Leonard said. “We are going to have to come out ready to play.”