The one-two punch of Whitney O’Mara and Maddie Boone led the Mason County Lady Royals to take the inaugural Lady Jackets Invitational title with a 63-37 win over host Central.
O’Mara paced the Lady Royals (12-1) with 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting and Boone scored 16 points to go with six rebounds and six assists in the victory. The Lady Jackets (8-5) were led in scoring by Taryn Glass, who finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.
“It was good to come out of the region, compete, and keep our composure under a little bit of adversity and come out of here with a win,” Lady Royals head coach Brad Cox said.
In what was a sometimes sloppy but hard-played game, the Lady Royals quickly got out to a 5-0 lead before the Lady Jackets came back to tie it up. Unfortunately for the hosts, it was the closest they would get for the rest of the game.
The Lady Royals took advantage of the size and skill of Boone, who worked the low post and scored many easy baskets off both pass and shot fakes. As that drew defenders inside, it gave room for O’Mara, Jordan Frodge and Brianna Littleton to either shoot uncontested 15-foot jump shots or drive the lane for a layup.
After three games in two days, it was the Lady Jackets which showed more fatigue, with head coach Ashley Franklin having to call multiple timeouts to tell her team to increase their defensive intensity when the Lady Royals would go on a run.
“They’re not used to it,” Franklin said. “A lot of the time we get calls here and we don’t have anybody pressuring us (defensively) like that. That’s what we need and that’s why we wanted them to come. We need that. We can’t get better unless we play somebody like that.”
A late three as the first half expired gave the Lady Royals a 28-17 lead heading into halftime. As the second half went on, the visitors from Mason County added to their lead.
The Lady Royals began the third quarter on a 12-2 run, with eight of those points scored by Boone. The Lady Royals also shored themselves up in the turnover department, limiting themselves to nine second half turnovers after 13 in the first half, while still forcing the Lady Jackets into multiple turnovers in the halfcourt. The Lady Royals scored a total of 26 points off turnovers, compared to the Lady Jackets 13 points.
The lone bright spot in the second half for the Lady Jackets was the play of Glass and Stephanie Cole, who scored tough baskets under the hoop to give their squad a needed lift. Glass, who along with point guard Peyton Evans is coming off an injury, scored eight second half points, some of them second-chance opportunities.
Central (8-5): Glass 12, Cole 9, Hereford 7, Evans 5, Burnett 2, New 2.
Mason County (12-1): O’Mara 20, Boone 16, Frodge 9, McNutt 4, Kumler 3, Brooks 3, Butler 2, Moran 2, Littleton 2, Reed 1, Simms 1
3-point goals: Hereford 2, Evans; O’Mara, Brooks.