KIDWELL - Winning its fifth straight game, John Marshall outscored Tyler Consolidated, 9-1, late in the opening half on their way to thumping the youthful Silver Knights, 68-34, on Saturday afternoon during the girls' division finals of the Boggs Roundball Classic.
After Sydney Reed's conventional three-point play midway through the second quarter moved Tyler Consolidated to within 21-15, Mallory Ball came off the Monarchs bench and scored six straight points. The senior guard started the decisive run by draining a triple from the left wing. When Tyler Consolidated missed at the other end, Ball made the Silver Knights pay with her own successful hoop and harm play.
Brianna Yeater hit 1 of 2 at the foul line to halt this spurt but John Marshall exploded again to lead 32-16 at the break. Jenna Stephens salvaged the back end of a two-shot free-throw opportunity, Kylie Howard cashed both her free throws and the cat-quick Kristin Lewicki added a layup after stealing the ball near midcourt.
''I thought we played very well in the first quarter," Silver Knights coach Matt Kinnard said.
Starting a lineup that consisted of two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman, Tyler Consolidated took lead three times before falling behind 13-10 heading into the second quarter.
''We were still close but the last three minutes of the half just killed us,'' Kinnard said.
John Marshall's depth, defensive pressure and the near return to full health of junior All-Valley stalwart Howard provided the spark as first-year coach Mark McCormick's club improved its record to 9-4.
Howard scored 13 points to lead the way as she continues to make progress from the knee and ankle injuries she sustained early in the season. Under the glass, Howard joined teammates Jenna Stephens and Alexis Montes in pulling down nine rebounds each.
Although she missed her first five straight shots and was just 2 of 10 overall, Howard's penetration around the basket provided her with numerous chances at the foul line where she swished 9 of 10 free throws.
''Kylie's getting close,'' McCormick said. ''She's starting to play with a lot more confidence and I can see a big improvement watching her sprint up the floor.''
The easy victory gave McCormick the opportunity to clear his bench and get everybody in uniform extra playing time. While Howard was the only John Marshall player to reach double figures, 10 of her teammates entered the scoring column.
Ball finished with nine points, while with eight each were Lewicki, who also handed out five assists, Montes and Morgan Watson.
''We got a lot of spark off our bench today from our 'M&M' girls (Morgan Watson and Mallory Ball)," McCormick said. ''Sissy (Alyssa George) and Emily Winters with seven points, also helped us through that dead period of the game."
McCormick was concerned over his team's lack of intensity early in the contest.
''There are certain gyms where we don"t play well and we always seem to get off to a slow start here,'' he said. ''The main thing I wanted was for us to come out of the game healthy.''
Things didn't exactly turn out that way, however, as the Monarchs' Shannon Pegg sustained a possible knee injury during the second half. The extent of the injury was unknown following the contest.
Tyler Consolidated also had just one player score in double figures as Torrye Cline finished with 13 points.
Frontier 60, Magnolia 35
In the third-place game, deadeye shooting from the free-throw line and a sparkling performance by junior Kelsie Rinard sparked the Cougars to their fifth victory against seven losses.
Frontier missed just one free throw during the first quarters and finished the game hitting 20 of 24 attempts, for a sparkling 83 percent.
''If we had been able to shoot free throws like that all year, we could have won a couple more games,'' Frontier coach Eric Rinard said. ''I thought we were more patient offensively and that helped us get a lot of good looks inside.''
Kelsie Rinard, not related to the coach, led her team's hot performance at the foul line, swishing all eight of her attempts. She finished the game with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Frontier jumped on the winless Blue Eagles early, leading 15-4 after the first quarter and 29-17 at halftime. Midway through the third quarter, the Cougars appeared to be playing some listless basketball, causing the head coach to bench all five of his starters for several minutes.
Magnolia managed a 10-6 scoring advantage in the quarter to close its deficit to 35-27 entering the final 8 minutes. However, Frontier displayed a lot more fire and outcored the Blue Eagles 25-8 down the stretch.
''We came out in the third quarter and kind of messed around a little bit which saw us make some silly mistakes," Eric Rinard said. ''After the wake-up call our intensity was a lot better."
Magnolia's only double-figure scorer was sophomore guard Mallory Chapman, daughter of coach Dave Chapman. Mallory scored 12 points but struggled at the foul line along with the rest of her teammates. She hit 7 of 16 free throws, while Magnolia was 12 of 30 overall.
''We didn't play very well or very smart," Dave Chapman said. ''I didn't see any rhythm out there at all. We had trouble getting into our offense and we just couldn't make any shots."