The Missouri girls all-star team snapped a five-year losing streak to Illinois, posting a 80-71 victory in the 35th Annual McDonald’s/ Herald-Whig Classic Saturday in Quincy. Scotland County’s fingerprints were all over the victory, as three Lady Tigers, Chelsea Wood, Calesse Bair and Abi Feeney combined for more than half their team’s points under the guidance of SCR-I coaches Cory Shultz, Lance Campbell and Kyle Ellison.
Wood was named the Missouri MVP, leading her squad with 21 points while also grabbing nine rebounds and making three steals. Bair finished with 16 points and five boards while Feeney had six points and four assists.
Feeney sank the first hoop for Missouri, as the two squads started the game at a blistering pace before evening the score at 23-23 after the first 10 minutes of play.
The scoring slowed down in the second period. After both squads hit more than half their shot attempts in the first quarter, the defense took over in period number two. Missouri outscored Illinois by a bucket, to lead 36-34 at the intermission. Wood did the bulk of the damage with 10 first half points to keep her squad in the lead.
The Show-Me State squad started to pull away at the end of the third period, leading 56-51. Bair got a three-pointer to fall. The ball danced around on the rim before finally falling through for three points to extend the lead to 64-55. She put her exclamation point on the day when she drilled a deep three-pointer to just beat the 30-second shot clock and extend the margin to 73-61.
But the SCR-I standout gave the crowd a scare when she went to the ground late in the contest with at first looked like a serious knee injury. She was able to walk off the court under her own power, allowing the large crowd to breathe a sigh of relief.
Wood continued her dominating performance, pouring in 11 second half points. She won the battle in the paint versus Herald-Whig Player of the Year Jordan Hillebrand, who was held to just eight points and four rebounds.
Feeney helped seal the win, going four for four at the free throw line down the stretch as Missouri held on for the 80-71 victory, giving Missouri a 19-16 record all-time in Classic action.