The People's Tribune

Lady Hawks Punch Ticket To State With Overtime Win Over Cairo In Quarterfinal

Team-centered defense and offense epitomize the Clopton Hawks philosophy and the team was galvanized on Saturday in a 42-36 overtime win in the Class 2 Quarterfinals over the Cairo Lady Cats.
The team victory sends the Lady Hawks back to the Show-Me Showdown for the first time since the 2014-15 season.
At the start, Clopton was running their sets and controlling the pace, but were unable to finish the way they’re used to.
Kaitlyn Kuntz missed on her first three-point attempts and Cairo stayed close thanks to five points from Mackenzie Dubbert in the first quarter. Jillian Lockard scored five points of her own and the Hawks led 11-9 at the end of one.
Kuntz picked up her second foul early and a third foul in the second quarter and was forced to sit for much of the late first half.
The Lady Cats held the Hawks to only free-throws for most of the second quarter to pull ahead by three.
Caragan Lockard beat the buzzer with her first and only basket to bring Clopton to just a point down at halftime.
The game went to the break with Cairo in the lead 18-17.
Kuntz returned to start the third quarter and would not commit another foul in the game.
The senior drained a pair of three pointers in the third to keep the score static and the contest went to the final quarter of regulation with Cairo ahead 26-25.
In the fourth with the pressure on Kuntz, it was Taylor Akers who again rose to the occasion. She scored five points in the fourth and Jillian Lockard netted four to tie the game at 34 before she fouled out on a benign defensive play with 1:10 remaining in the fourth.
Dubbert missed the front of the ensuing one-and-one free throw opportunity and Caragan Lockard grabbed the rebound for Clopton.
The Hawks held the ball and took a timeout with 12 seconds remaining with the score tied.
When the game resumed the Hawks found a shot, but an Akers three was just short and after a Cairo timeout the game went to overtime.
Both teams went scoreless in their first two possessions of the extra session and Calynn Lockard was charged with her fifth foul, trying to block a shot with 2:47 left in OT.
Cairo’s Keegan Ryan hit the second of two free throws to give the Lady Cats a one-point lead.
In the game after Jillian Lockard fouled out, sophomore Megan Harrelson was a game-changer. This time Harrelson grabbed two steals in overtime early, but her third theft flipped the momentum.
Harrelson intercepted a pass on the defensive end and drove the length of the floor for a layup that put Clopton up a point.
“I just saw her looking,” Harrelson said after the game. “They kept passing it there, so I intercepted it.”
Harrelson was fouled on the play and hit the free throw for a two point lead, 37-35.
Marge Garrett kept Dubbert from tying the game, fouling the senior with 47 seconds remaining.
Dubbert drained the first free-throw, but missed the second. Caragan Lockard grabbed another big rebound and Kuntz was fouled.
K.K. hit both shots from the line for a three point Clopton lead.
Harrelson snagged a rebound at the other end of the floor, was fouled and hit two more Clopton free-throws for a 41-36 lead in the final 30 seconds.
Ryan was fouled with 19 seconds remaining, but hit only one of two shots from the line.
The Hawks got the ball in clean and cleared the final seconds of the clock to advance to a matchup with Thayer at Springfield in the Class 2 Semifinal. The Thayer Bobcats (28-3) defeated Oran 58-28 in their quarterfinal on Saturday.
Calynn Lockard noted in the TribCast Postgame that the win meant everything.
“This is our [seniors’] last year and we’ve been dreaming about this since we were little, little kids. It’s all we wanted.”
Harrelson’s overtime heroics earned the sophomore the Community State Bank TribCast Player of the Game.
Clopton scoring: Jillian Lockard, 10 ; Kuntz, 10; Akers, 7; Calynn Lockard, 6; Harrelson, 5; Caragan Lockard, 2; Garrett, 2.
Coach Deaven Streed pointed out the quarterfinal game was not the best the team has had this season.
“We missed opportunities throughout the game to really get things going offensively. However, defensively I felt like my kids really committed to the game plan we had worked on. Taylor Akers was assigned the task of shutting down Ryan,” Streed said. “I’ve watched several times on film and am in complete awe of how well (Akers) did and how much effort she put into really achieving that task. She held a great player to seven points and scored seven herself. I think she definitely accomplished that goal.”
The bench has come up big in numerous games this season. Streed stated the girls encompass a true team mentality.
“I never look down my bench and see kids who are pouting or upset that haven’t been in the game. I have leaders sitting there on the bench as well. Allison Hunter who came back from hand/thumb surgery plays a huge role in keeping the bench up beat and engaged in the game. This is just amazing to me. I couldn’t be more proud of those kids specifically for really buying in and being selfless players.”

Streed discussed the contributions of several of her players along with the strength of her bench at any given time.
“Megan Harrelson and Mary Margaret Garrett provided us with many quality minutes on Saturday. Megan served as a definite spark in crucial overtime minutes. Her steal and bucket with an and 1 gave us that spark just at the right time. We were then able to knock down some huge free throws between her and Kaitlyn Kuntz to seal the deal. Megan basically has ice in her veins she’s one of few of my kids that never really gets too high or too low. She pretty much stays the course however the game is going. Mary Margaret has just really been a solid kid off the bench for us all season. She comes in and give breaks to Caragan and Calynn quite often. She has a real skill for reading the ball of the rim and getting to it for key rebounds. She reads well on defense. Mary Margaret is also coming off a pretty significant ankle injury last season that required surgery and many months of therapy. I think that had some affect on her explosiveness this year, yet she has been able to fight through and give us some real quality minutes,” Streed remarked.
“Kaitlyn Kuntz and Taylor Akers both played very active roles in keeping the team alive when my two starters went to the bench. After talking with KK after the game she told me that she believed we were going to win the whole time. This really speaks volume to the kind of grit and mindset KK has. She hit a few key three-pointers for us in the 3rd quarter to keep us right on Cairo’s heals. It was huge having her stay out of foul trouble in the second half as her key free throws and ball handling helped us close out that game.”
Streed noted that Jillian Lockard had a few huge minutes in the fourth before fouling out of the game to tie the match.
“We were down four points with just over three minutes to go. Jillian had a big driving basket and then followed it up a few possessions later with some huge free throws to tie it back up for us. This couldn’t have come at a better time and I am not sure we would have been able to rally and push an overtime without those big moments.”

The Hawks will face Thayer in the second to last game of the night this Friday, tipping off at 6:20 p.m. from JQH Arena, on the campus of Missouri State University in Springfield.
Coach Deaven Streed noted that the team is completely overjoyed and ecstatic for the opportunity to play in the Show-Me Showdown.
“Each season we talk goals before starting and typically we list several team goals. I was reflecting on some of their goals right before districts and many of the team goals the girls had listed we had accomplished throughout the season. This was the last goal on many of the girls’ lists. To see them accomplish that goal is just amazing to me as a coach,” Streed remarked. “I am so excited that they will get to experience this and have the opportunity to create more memories with each other that will last forever.”
Streed pointed out there is a lot of preparation going into the trip that she has not experienced before.
“I guess as a player I was a bit clueless about all the planning it took. We have had such an outpouring of support from our community, it is really unbelievable. I could not be more grateful to coach here and to have so many people willing to give and reach out with well wishes. We are truly blessed.”
Streed noted that she has enlisted help from some familiar faces with experience coaching state-winning teams including her coach for four years in high school, Bobby Spoonster.
“(He) has been very instrumental in strategizing for some of these playoff games.”
She has also turned to Coach Tony Francis for assistance.
“I have picked his brain often on a weekly basis on things. I could not be more lucky to have him to talk with and get advice from. There aren’t many high schools that have coaches who have coached as much basketball as him and at such a high level. I will be spending lots of time with him this week no doubt,” she remarked.

Clopton thumped Knox County, 51-37, in the sectional game at Hannibal High School last Wednesday.
The Lady Hawks were in the driver’s seat from the start, holding the Lady Eagles to just one field goal in the opening quarter and outscoring them 11-3.
Knox responded with an 11-10 effort in the second as Clopton led 21-14 at halftime.
Caragan Lockard led a strong third quarter with three buckets as the Lady Hawks stretched their lead with a 16-14 quarter.
Clopton finished off the game with a strong effort at the charity stripe, going 10-12 as a team in the final frame.
Kaitlyn Kuntz led the way with 13 points and earned the Community State Bank TribCast Player of the Game for her defensive efforts.
Other scoring: Jillian Lockard, 11; Akers, 8; Caragan Lockard, 8; Calynn Lockard, 7; Harrelson, 2; Garrett, 2.

TribCast will feature the Final Four games this weekend for Clopton and Van-Far live online at MSHSAA does not allow streaming video of the Final Four so the broadcasts will feature audio only. Watch the Trib’s website and Facebook page following the games for video highlight packages produced by TribCast Director Mark Fronick.

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