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Lady Tigers Slip Past Mulberry

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The Senior Mansfield Lady Tigers took their first round of the Bill Frye Classic sponsored by Today’s Bank as if they were the third Tiger in line for Noah’s Ark when they tipped off against the Mulberry Yellow Jackets on Tuesday, December 28th. With an already slim roster of ten players, the Lady Tigers were short an additional three players for their matchup against the Yellow Jackets. Mulberry may have had more numbers on the bench, but at the end of the game the Lady Tigers had more numbers on the scoreboard as Mansfield scratched out a 40-35 victory.

The Lady Tigers jumped to an early lead with Sadie Roberts winning the jump ball followed by a quick Alyson Edwards layup. Mulberry quickly stole the momentum and the lead when the Yellow Jackets sunk a big three-point shot.  While the floor was heating up with aggression, the rims remained cold as the first quarter ended with Mansfield hanging onto a narrow 14-8 lead.

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Someone must’ve hit rewind as the second quarter commenced as Mansfield started off hot with Skylynn Harris sweeping the ball from the Yellow Jackets followed and after a few passes, Harris drained a three-pointer. Kynslee Ward was a wild child defensively in the second quarter by blocking shots, stealing the ball, and making Mullberry jam out of the Yellow Jackets offense. It was the Lady Tigers defense that kept them in the game as exhaustion slowly crept down on them. The Lady Tigers kept their offense going just enough to go into halftime with a 23-13.

It was very apparent that Mansfield was feeling rough coming out of halftime. The Lady Tigers started the second half off with back-to-back turnovers, three missed shots, and three fouls while Mulberry began to heat up offensively. Alyson Edwards broke the scoring woes with a free throw which lit a slight flame under the Lady Tigers tails. Natalie Allison snagged a steal and score, Harlie Fuller slipped by the Yellow Jackets for a steal, Seven Sanderson stuffed a Yellow Jacket layup, and the Mansfield defense forced a backcourt on Mulberry. All was going well with the Lady Tigers until disaster struck. Kynslee Ward stole the ball and flew down the court and lost control of a pass. As always, Ward fought tooth and nail for the ball all the way to the floor when she was landed on by a Mulberry player. Mansfield hung on to a 34-25 lead as the third quarter came to a close.

The Lady Tigers free fall didn’t stop as Mansfield fouled on their first possession of the fourth quarter giving them their 7th team foul. Shortly after, Sadie Roberts caught her fifth foul, cutting the Lady Tigers’ already small roster to just five players for the rest of the game. With their backs against the wall, Mansfield bowed up. The game was solely on the shoulders of Skylynn Harris, Natalie Allison, Alyson Edwards, Harlee Fuller, and Seven Sanderson. The Fantastic Five knew they had to get gritty and boy did they do it. The Lady Tigers defense continued the heavy pressure on the Yellow Jackets forcing Mulberry to not have any clear shots. Both teams nickel and dimed each other until the final minute where Natalie Allyson stretched the Lady Tigers lead to three points. As time closed out, Mulberry had to foul, sending the Lady Tigers to the free-throw line. Mansfield shooters dropped their shots through the net to win the game 40-35.

Alyson Edwards led the team in scoring with 16 points against Mulberry with Skylnn Harris racking up 13 points in the game. Sadie Roberts and Natalie Allyson both put up 4 points apiece while Kynslee Ward swished two free throws to round out the Lady Tigers scoring with 2 points. With the tough victory in the bag, the Lady Tigers will advance to the winners bracket in the Bill Frye Invitational where they will face Shiloh at 5:15pm on Friday, December 29th. One thing is for sure, so long as the Lady Tigers have even a single player left suited up, they’ll be playing their hearts out to win it all. 

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