Cassville prevailed 35-23 over Monett in the end, but it wasn't an easy win for the Lady Wildcats in opening round of the Class 4, District 12 districts on Monday night.
The battle marked the fourth time the Big 8 Conference foes had tangled this season. The Lady Wildcats had won the previous three meetings by an average of 19 points.
"I told our girls in the locker room that I had never faced the same team four times in a season," said Cassville coach Chris Shore. "When the same teams play each other three and four times, the games tend to get tighter because they are so familiar with each other. I knew it was going to be an ugly game. I didn't think it would be this ugly."
Cassville improved to 13-12 on the season and advance to play Carl Junction on Wednesday night. The two teams met on Jan. 30 with the Lady Bulldogs prevailing 57-44.
On Monday night, it was apparent after the first eight minutes of play between Cassville and Monett that it was going to be a battle as the Lady Wildcats held a slim 7-6 advantage at the end of the first period and led 15-8 at halftime.
Cassville's Emily Speakman battled foul trouble in the first half, which allowed Monett's two-three zone defense to restrict quality looks at the basket for the Lady Wildcats.
Another result of the two-three defense were turnovers, and lots of them.
Both teams scored a combined 23 points in the first half and committed 29 turnovers.
Monett picked up the pace in the third period and outperformed Cassville 10 to 7 to trail 22-18 at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
The Lady Cubs trimmed the advantage to four points at 24-20 on a pair of Hunter Glouse free throws with 6:54 remaining and had three consecutive possessions to cut into the lead but came up empty.
A pair of free throws from Jaime Everett with 4:25 left in the game ignited an 8-0 run for Cassville that put the game out of reach.
"You have to tip your hat to Monett," said Shore. "They played very hard tonight."
Scoring for Cassville were: Everett, 12; Kennadi Howard, 8; Speakman, 7; Katelyn Pitts and Raeghan Blisard, 3 each; and Cari Vollenweider, 2.
Scoring for Monett were: Glouse, 10; Faith Schmidt, 5; Jessica Schmidt and Brooke Madison, 3 each; and Abby Krueger, 2.