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Monday, May 2, 2016

Purdy Lady Eagles advance to the final four

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Purdy Lady Eagles are all smiles after their 53-47 quarterfinals win over Fordland on Saturday. Pictured in the front, from left to right, are: Kaner Young and Matthew Cornelius. Second row: Brittany Mareth, Shelby Scott, Brooke Swadley, Shelby White and Audrey Patton. Third row: Carleigh Hall, Bailey Spears, Rachael Neill, Megan Schilly, Mattie White, Addy Roller and Kristyn Cornman. [Photo by Linda Patton]
Jubilation filled the air when the final buzzer sounded as the Purdy Lady Eagles defeated Fordland 53-47 to advance to the Missouri Class 2, Final Four.

"I can't explain how I feel right now," said Purdy senior guard Brooke Swadley. "This team is so much like a family.

"We pick each other up with the going gets tough and we never give up on each other." Swadley added.

Purdy jumped out to an 11-4 lead in the first five minutes of the game and forced nine Fordland turnovers in the first quarter that allowed Purdy to lead 13-7 after one quarter of play.

Fordland countered in the second period outscoring Purdy 13-7 to tie the game at 20 at intermission.

"Fordland did a wonderful job of slowing the ball down and getting good looks the second and third quarters," said Purdy Head Coach Grant Young. "We knew we were going to have to scrap if we wanted to win."

The Fordland Lady Eagles came out of halftime on fire outscoring Purdy 10-1 in the first three minute to take a 30-21 lead that force Purdy to take a timeout.

"I told our girls not to panic," said Young. "It was only a three possession lead and we were going to be okay. I emphasized the importance of picking up our defensive pressure and attacking the rim. All we needed were a couple of stops."

The pep talk worked. Addy Roller hit two 3-pointers and Shelby White sank a short jumper to trim the Forland lead.

Purdy responded with a 14-6 run and to trail 36-35 to start the fourth quarter.

"Addy (Roller) was the real deal today," said Young. "She sparked our ability to catch up. Shelby White pulled down 12 rebounds, all of which were huge."

Roller and White accounted for 25 of the Lady Eagles 33 second half points.

Roller buried four 3-pointers in the second half and connected six times from downtown for the game.

"When we were trailing coach told us not to panic," said White. "When we started we knew we weren't going to lose. We haven't reached our goal yet but we took another step today."

With 5:43 to play Fordland took its final lead 43-42 on Megan Claxton's short jumper. Purdy's smothering defense would not allow Fordland to score again until there were only 10.7 second left in the game.

Purdy outscored Fordland 13-5 over the last five minutes to salt the game away.

Purdy did struggle in one area free throw hitting 10 of 28 attempts.

"It's a mental thing," said Young. "We shot over 70 percent at the line as a team for the season. We'll be working on it this week."

"It feels good to win," said Purdy's sophomore Mattie White. "I am honored to be on a team that has achieved so much this season. Anytime I can contribute to those achievements makes me happy."

Couch, North Platte and Clopton join Purdy in advancing to the semi-final on Thursday.

"I am so lucky to have the opportunity to coach these girls," said Young. "We can't become content. We can't settle with just making it to state we have to focus and gear up for winning state."

Scoring for Purdy were: Roller, 29 points; Shelby White, 14 points; Swadley and Audrey Patton 4 points; and Mattie White, 2 points.

Purdy takes on Clopton on Thursday in the semi-finals. Tipoff is slated for 8:20 p.m.

Live game updates will be posted on www.monett-times.com

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