Ash Grove holds on to beat Lady Jays at Pink and White Lady Classic

Ash Grove holds on to beat Lady Jays at Pink and White Lady Classic

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Ash Grove holds on to beat Lady Jays at Pink and White Lady Classic

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The only upsets on Wednesday’s opening day of the Pink and White Lady Classic at Drury University had to do with teams that could not make it.

Inclement weather played the havoc on the tournament that the lower seeds could not on Wednesday, as snowstorms in the region caused Louisville (Ky.) Bishop Dupont to withdraw, and made the event’s two Arkansas teams miss the first day.

If Jacksonville arrives today, the team will play in the loser’s bracket, with Fair Grove getting a forfeit win. Little Rock Hall, on the other hand, may play two games if it can get to Springfield today, tournament co-director Mark Fisher said.

Meanwhile, Hillcrest joins Fair Grove as the other unseeded team to earn a win, a forfeit against second-seeded DuPont.

In one of the only games where a first-round underdog had a good shot, Marshfield could not capitalize on its chances in a 56-42 loss to fifth-seeded Ash Grove in the Pink Division bracket at Drury’s Weiser Gym.

Both teams have had junior standouts miss significant parts of the early season with injuries. Both were back Wednesday, as Lakin Simmerman’s Lady Pirates kept Lauren Aldridge and the Lady Jays at bay.

“I was very pleased with how we played in her absence,” Ash Grove coach Brent Milleson said. “It’s forced some kids to step into some different roles. But in her absence, it shortened our bench and our margin for error is obviously smaller.”

Aldridge, who is recovering from a foot injury, played in her second game of the season. She missed the final 2 minutes, 32 seconds of the first quarter, as Ash Grove took control with a 9-2 run to take a 21-12 lead.

Meanwhile, the return of the 6-foot Simmerman after a four-game absence with a foot injury, allowed the maturing Lady Pirates to return to their roles.

Ash Grove (10-1) will play unbeaten West Plains in today’s 11 a.m. second-round game at the O’Reilly Family Event Center.

Marshfield (3-7) rallied to pull within single digits three times in the third quarter, but could not get over the hump.

“I thought they did a great job of attacking the glass and hitting open threes,” first-year Marshfield coach Shelly Jones said. “We’ve got to be better defensively. I thought the adjustments we made after halftime worked, but it’s my fault that we did not make the adjustment until halftime.”

Simmerman made an impact down low, teaming with Katie Skelton to control the paint, and also open the floor for shooters like Halee Cashio and Madi Johnson, who scored a game-high 14 points.

“It’s kind of a relief, especially because (the defensive rebounding) doesn’t have to all be on Katie Skelton now,” Johnson said. “But we don’t have any specific players that opponents need to focus on. We just want to come out and beat whoever we are matched up with, no matter what the size (of the school).”

Marshfield, which was led by Aldridge’s nine points, will play Carl Junction at 11 a.m. today in the consolation round at Weiser Gym.

Class 3 Ash Grove will have a chance at Class 4 power West Plains, which means another test for the Lady Pirates, who are led by the nine-member junior class.

“One of our biggest emphasis has been consistency, and staying within our rules,” Milleson said. “They’ve kind of settled into some roles, and they’ve done a nice job of recognizing some strengths and weaknesses in teammates.

“That’s a sign of maturity, and hopefully that will carry us some way.”

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