Ozark junior Hannah Cook had several goals in mind before Monday’s nonconference game against Glendale.
She had the obvious ones of course: To win, to play well and for her squad to also play well, but she also had a rather obscure one: To finish a fastbreak layup.
And from the looks of it, Cook and her teammates were successful on all fronts, as Ozark ran away with a 72-18 win at Glendale High School.
“Our main thing tonight was to keep our intensity up and to not play down to their level,” Cook said. “We wanted to keep the pressure on them and to not let down.
Coach wanted us to pass the ball quickly and crisply on offense and to not reach on defense, he wanted us focused on the fundamentals pretty much.”
The Lady Tigers (3-1) forced 12 turnovers in the first quarter and jumped to an early 11-0 lead with several steals and layups from their defense.
And because of Ozark’s success off their defensive pressure, it didn’t take long for Cook to accomplish her other goal.
Cook’s steal and layup in transition gave the Lady Tigers a 5-0 lead, then a defensive rebound and a layup on the break by Cook gave Ozark an 11-0 lead just 2:14 into the game.
“I was focusing on finishing on a fastbreak layup, because I’ve had a little bit of trouble with that,” Cook said. “I was focused on laying it up there softly and not avoiding contact and I think it worked good; I didn’t miss a layup.”
A layup off the press from Cook at the 1:35 mark of the first quarter gave Ozark a 19-3 lead, then a layup by Cook off a steal on Glendale’s next possession put the Lady Tigers on top 21-3.
“I thought we did a few things well, we passed the ball well and we played unselfish,” Ozark coach Yancey Little said. “I told the girls at halftime that I don’t care what the score is, I expect them to do fundamentals out there.”
Ozark led by 20 points after the first quarter (23-3) and by 38 points at halftime (44-6).
The Lady Tigers forced another eight turnovers after halftime and outscored the Lady Falcons 14-2 over the first 3:27 of the third quarter to build a 58-8 advantage.
Cook led Ozark with 19 points and had six rebounds and a blocked shot while junior Ivy Reynolds scored eight of her 11 points off the bench for the Lady Tigers.
Freshman Mariah Starks’ six points led Glendale (0-2), which lists 11 of its 15 varsity players as freshmen.
“Glendale is young and they’re going to get better, we all know that,” Little said. ” … we obviously had some experience on them and I think it showed tonight.”