The Pierce City Lady Eagles defeated Liberal 60-48 to win the Spring River Valley Conference championship Thursday night.
The Lady Eagles improved to 20-5 overall and were undefeated in the SRVC with a perfect 9-0 record. The conference title was the first for the Pierce City girls since the 2007-08 season.
"Tonight was a culmination of working hard for 54 practices and 25 games," said Pierce City coach Tiffany Dirks. "I am so proud and excited for these girls and for their achievement. It's a really good feeling when a team sets a goal of a conference title and then accomplishes the mark."
Senior Kaelyn Osborn and junior Krishna Merriman paved the way for Pierce City's victory. Osborn finished the night with 28 points, and Merriman chipped in 27 points. Christine Younker added 4 points and Becca Hatfield recorded 1 point.
The Lady Eagles led 12-10 after one quarter of play and had extended the advantage to 10 points at 28-18 by halftime.
Liberal battled back in the third period, outscoring Pierce City 16-11 in the third period, to cut the advantage to 39-34 to start the fourth frame.
The Lady Bulldogs opened the fourth quarter with an 8-4 run that tied the game at 42-42 and that prompted Pierce City to call a timeout.
"I told the girls to stop worrying about scoring on offense and to focus on playing defense," said Dirks. "The girls really responded well, and we were able to go on a run to put the game away."
Scoring for Liberal were: Kori Dodson, 17; Bailey Robertson, 12; Hanna Beckwith, 11; Kendall Kirby, 5; Rachel Dogan, 2; and Nicole Sprinkle, 1.
Pierce City boys
The Pierce City Eagles erased a 17-point fourth quarter deficit to force overtime and earn a 78-76 win.
"I thought this was our best win of the season," said Pierce City coach Matt Street. "Liberal kept knocking us down, but the boys got back up and fought. Ian Brottlund and Colin Garner each took charges in the fourth quarter, which were huge for our comeback."
The Bulldogs led 34-28 at halftime and 54-38 after three quarters. The Eagles outscored Liberal 32-16 in the fourth quarter to force the extra period.
Colten Selvey led Liberal in scoring with 21 points. Trevor Harvey added 13 points.
Scoring for Pierce City were: Wayne Joe Sooter, 35; Cody Fitchpatrick, 19; Garner, 14; Kole Kelley, 5; Brottlund, 3; and Zack Hyde, 2.
The Eagles begin district play on Saturday at Mt. Vernon against Sarcoxie. Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m.
The Lady Eagles play East Newton to open district play on Monday at Mt. Vernon. Game time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.