POPLAR BLUFF • Crystal City couldn’t mess with perfection against Seymour in the girls Class 3 quarterfinal Saturday at Poplar Bluff.
Seymour broke open a one-point game by outscoring Crystal City 20-12 in the third quarter. With the 70-56 victory, Seymour improved to 30-0 and advanced to the state tournament final four on Thursday at Mizzou Arena. The Tigers, who made their only trip to the final four in 2002, will play Mount Vernon in the semifinals.
“I thought we gave it all we had,” Crystal City coach Ken Jones said. “Seymour’s a great team. Hopefully, they can go down there and win it all.”
Seymour heated up from outside in the third quarter, burying four 3-pointers, including three from Jensen Massengale. But the back-breaker came when Crystal City was called for four fouls on a single Seymour possession with a minute left in the third. The second, third, fourth and fifth chances allowed Massengale to finally finish the possession with a trey, giving the Tigers a 47-36 lead.
The referees’ whistle plagued Crystal City throughout, as the Hornets finished with 25 fouls. Seymour finished with just 16 fouls.
“You can’t blame it on that,” Jones said. “Seymour was the better ballclub. They hit more shots, and I tip my cap to them.”
Seymour led by double-digits for most of the fourth quarter, until an Amanda Kilgore trey brought Crystal City to within 62-54 with 1 minute 54 seconds left. But that was as close as the Hornets could get.
Audrey Cooper and Kilgore each scored 17 to lead Crystal City (24-6). Malorie Smith added 10 points.
Seymour gained control of the lead by finishing the first quarter on a 6-2 run. A Hailee Sanders’ 3-pointer started the run and helped give the Tigers a 14-10 advantage after the first quarter.
A Leann Lansdown basket midway through the second gave Seymour a 24-17 lead, but Crystal City ended the half with a 9-2 run of its own. A pair of Cooper baskets got the Hornets going, and Kilgore ended the half by sinking three free throws after she was fouled on a 3-point attempt. Kilgore’s free throws cut Seymour’s lead to 27-26 at halftime.
Lansdown led Seymour with 24 points. Massengale added 18 points.
“We threw everything and the kitchen sink at them and they kept coming up with answer, after answer, after answer,” Jones said. “Seymour is not 30-0 for nothing, that’s for sure.”