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Although he was not happy about the outcome of his Lady Spartans’ home game Tuesday night with Knob Noster, Richmond Coach David Littrell was proud of how they battled in a 44-41 MRVC East loss.
The Lady Spartans pushed Knob Noster to the limit, and the visitors had no time to relax until Sarah Tyler’s 3-point bucket from the corner swished through the net at the final buzzer.
The Knob Noster victory gives the Lady Panthers a 4-1 mark in the conference race, with their lone setback coming to first-place Holden.
Littrell said his Lady Spartans, now 0-5 in the league and 3-13 overall, stepped up their level of play.
“We challenged the girls to step up to a higher level of play in practice and every player on this team did just that,” he said. “We took a huge step forward as a team tonight, the girls did a great job against a very tough basketball team.”
Knob Noster outscored Richmond 13-8 in the final period as the Lady Panthers spent the entire night battling from behind. The Lady Spartans jumped to an 8-2 lead in the first quarter and held an 11-9 advantage heading into the second period.
Richmond held its lead throughout the second frame, but Knob Noster took advantage of a couple of late turnovers to tie the game 20-20 at the half.
The Lady Spartans built a 5-point lead early in the third quarter, and held off the visitors to take a 33-31 lead into the final 8 minutes.
Ironically, Tyler opened the fourth period with a 3-point bucket to give Knob Noster its first lead of the game.
Both teams exchanged scores throughout the fourth quarter. Richmond had a few opportunities to regain the lead, but hit just 2 of 6 free throw attempts in the final 1:23.
However, it was a pair of free throws from Kayla Hewitt that allowed Richmond to tie the game 41-41 with 48 seconds remaining before Tyler’s 3-ball ended the game.
Littrell said his team played with a lot of poise on both ends of the court.
“We did the things we needed to do to keep us in the game,” he said. “Any time they made a run on us, we settled down and got back into our game plan. We handled their pressure defense very well and did a great job of executing our offensive sets.”
Kyra Williams led the Knob Noster scoring with 16 points, with Christina Jones adding 14, and Tyler hit for 10.
Hewitt hit 5 of her 6 free throws for the game and led the Lady Spartan scoring with 13 points, while Chelsea Hook had a good night inside by adding a dozen points.
Baylyn Jennings hit for 8, followed by Stephanie Williams with 4, and Hannah Alpers and Whitney Martens with 2 each.
The Lady Spartans converted 5 of 16 attempts from the stripe, while Knob Noster made 5 of 9 free throws.
PHOTO: Richmond’s Chelsea Hook finds her way inside for a Lady Spartan bucket during Monday night’s 44-41 loss to Knob Noster. (Photo by Russ Green/The Daily News.)