CLARKSVILLE, Mo. — Early on in Friday's championship game of the Clopton Tournament, the Monroe City girls basketball team needed a spark on offense.
Clopton was doing everything in its power to deny the ball inside to Monroe City's stellar post duo of Riley Quinn and Haley Hagan, dedicating at least three bodies at all time to the paint to keep them off the board. That much space outside the paint created an opportunity, and Hallie Dyer took advantage.
The Panthers senior guard exploded to score 13 of the team's 15 points in the first quarter, which created the energy Monroe City needed to roll to a 71-33 victory and a second straight Clopton Tournament title.
"We were kind of stagnant on offense there in the first quarter but she got us going," Monroe City coach Cody Leonard said of Dyer, who finished with 20 points and was named tournament MVP. "They did a really good job on the inside trying to double our posts, so the three was open. She did a good job keeping us in it, getting some sort of offense going for us until we could settle in and adjust to what they were doing defensively.
"Then our two bigs went to work and did their thing."
It was Hagan who got going first. After scoring two points in the first quarter — the only other Panther to score besides Dyer — Hagan put up seven points in the second quarter and nabbed seven rebounds. Hagan finished with 18 points and a whopping 25 rebounds, with 12 points coming directly off of offensive boards.
"Riley had some tough shots trying to get up, but then the backside block was wide open the whole time," Leonard said. "(Hagan) is a heck of a lot bigger than when they try to drop a wing down and box her out, it doesn't really matter. She did a great job tonight."
Quinn carried a streak of six straight games with at least 20 points into Friday's championship match, but by halftime she only had four points though her team led 34-19. She finally found her shooting stroke in the third quarter, and then the rout was on.
Quinn scored 11 points in the third quarter as Monroe City (12-0) outscored Clopton 23-10 out of halftime to put the game away. She added four more points in the fourth quarter to finish with 19, just one shy of keeping her 20-point streak alive.
Even when Quinn wasn't scoring in the first half, Leonard was proud of how she and the rest of the offense continued to move forward and find success.
"We were being unselfish and finding the open person," Leonard said. "There were a couple of times where Bailee Hays got the ball right under the basket, but instead of trying to go up and force a shot she just gave it to one of the posts and let them score because they were wide open.
"I thought they all played really well tonight."