Go back to your childhood for a second and think of Sesame Streets Count. Now say it along with everyone else “One, ah ah ah. Two, ah ah ah. Thhhhrrreeee, ah ah ah ahhhhhh”. The Mansfield Lady Tigers helped show fans on Thursday, February 25 that counting was easy. Mansfield sang “1, 2, skip a few……66, 67” as the Lady Tigers put the Mountainburg Lady Dragons down for the last time with a 67-51 win in the semi-final round of Districts.
The Lady Tigers stepped up to the plate with newfound confidence and aggressive defense. They immediately shut down Mountainburg’s 3 point shooting game by covering the Dragon’s shots so close that they could smell what the Lady Tigers had for lunch. The heavy pressure worked well, but Mansfield’s offense struggled to put up the points to close the game early as Mansfield closed the first quarter with a 15-14 narrow lead. The Lady Tigers’ offense continued to struggle which put more pressure on their defense. Both teams had problems gaining momentum in the game leading to desperation and foul trouble. Having the shooters on their side, Mountainburg took advantage of the fouls and crept up on the scoreboard with free throws. Shot by shot, point by point the Lady Dragons pulled ahead of Mansfield as the Lady Tigers walked into the half down 31-27.
Before the District Tournament was reinstated, the Lady Tigers were going to walk into Regionals as a #2 seed due to their regular-season finish. Mountainburg was definitely doing their best to move up in the rankings as they continued to pour it on Mansfield. The Lady Tigers couldn’t buy a basket at the beginning of the third quarter and Mountainburg was able to open their game up. Down by 10 points midway through the third, the Lady Tigers had had enough. Their offense lit up as they roared back into contention. Mansfield closed the gap but was still down 46-42 going into the final quarter.
Although down by 4 when the fourth quarter started, the Lady Tigers weren’t phased. In fact, that could have been the plan. Wear Mountainburg down and then set them ablaze at the end. Planned or not, Mansfield began to get their offense going. But it wasn’t the offense that was the technical pacesetter. It was the defense that set things in motion with rebounds, steals, blocks, and deflections. With Mountainburg slowly crumbling, the Lady Tigers got some easy points and ran the game out with some free throws of their own. In their previous two meetings, the games were decided by 5 points each with the Lady Dragons being the fourth-quarter comebacks. The roles swapped this time though as Mansfield rolled up a 16 point score gap in a 67-51 victory.
Senior Makayla Strutton has now tied the school record for steals in a season with 115. One more steal will earn her the top of that list. She also brought in 21 points. Danielle Lillie earned 13 points followed by freshman, Alyson Edwards, who in her senior high debut earned herself a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Chloe Creekmore netted 7 points, Natalie Allison ended with 6, Kynslee Ward made 5, Brooke Wright picked up 3, and Skylynn Harris made 2.
The Lady Tigers are now headed to Acorn on Saturday, February 27 to take on the other Lady Tigers in the championship round of Districts. If you plan on attending the game, you must have a voucher. If you have a voucher, that will gain you access to both the girls’ and boys’ games. All players will receive 3 vouchers. If there are leftover vouchers, please contact either Coach Bryan or Coach Stovall to get one. If you plan on leaving after the girls’ game, please notify either Coach Bryan or Coach Stovall so that they can use your ticket for someone who shows up for the boys’ game and vise versa.