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June 18, 2009

Caldwell, Cotton Fuel Missouri Comeback in McDonald’s/Herald-Whig Classic

The blue-collar work ethic of what appeared on paper to be an out-gunned Missouri squad, helped the ladies from the Show-Me State post a come-from-behind 69-66 victory in the 27th annual McDonald’s/Herald-Whig Classic all-star basketball game on June 13th in Quincy, IL.

Two former SCR-I standouts played key rolls in the second-half rally. Missouri found itself trailing the Illinois all stars by double digits midway through the second half.

Illinois jumped out to a 36-31 lead in the first half. Illinois was led by all-stater, Lucy Cramsey; Class 1-2 athlete of the year candidate Cassie Ferguson and Western Illinois bound Katelyn Moore, as the trio combined for 24 points in the first half.

Cramsey, who will play at Quincy University was one of three all-state players on the Illinois team, along with Barnes and Lindsey Buckert of West Hancock.

After playing limited minutes in the first half, SCR-I’s Melissa Cotton and Kaitlin Caldwell were instrumental in the Missouri rally.

Cotton scored with 12:51 left on the clock when she took her defender off the dribble and scored in the paint. Just moments later the SCR-I duo hooked up for another big play. Caldwell came up with a steal on the defensive end and made a perfect outlet pass to her former teammate on the fastbreak. Cotton converted on the other end to cut the deficit to 53-50 with 10:31 left in the contest.

The two teams traded buckets over the next five minutes before Caldwell completed the comeback by making two free throws to knot the score at 59-59 with 5:46 left in the contest.

Missouri went ahead when Palmyra’s Danielle Boulware rebounded a miss by Caldwell and scored on the offensive rebound to make it 63-62 with 4:11 left to play.

Boulware scored five of her team-high 14 points down the stretch but it was Missouri’s defense that sealed the win. The swarming 2-3 and 1-3-1 zone looks seemed to confuse the Illinois squad resulting in several key turnovers down the stretch.

Canton’s Linsey Lillard was the recipient of one of the five second half steals pilfered by South Shelby’s Elizabeth Russell in the second half. The former Lady Bird hit Lillard on the fast break for the score that put Missouri up for good at 69-66.

Illinois had a pair of opportunities to tie the game in the final minute but Missouri’s defense proved too strong.

Russell took home the MVP honors for the Missouri squad as she led the defensive effort. She had six points and five steals on the night, including a pair of key stops late in the contest.

Quincy Notre Dame’s Chloe Barnes led the Illinois team with 14 points. Barnes is headed to Division I Ball State.


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