MONROE CITY, Mo. -- The boisterous standing room-only crowd made it difficult for players on the Clark County and Monroe City girls basketball teams to hear instructions from the benches.
"If any of us heard (Clark County coach John Weaver), we'd tell all the others," senior Carissa Bevans said. "Some of us seniors are used to the larger crowds and it being really loud and having to really focus."
That was crucial in the fourth quarter when after every made basket, Weaver wanted the Indians to change defenses. That tactic was enough to throw off Monroe City, which went more than five minutes without scoring in the fourth quarter as Clark County pulled away for a 50-41 Clarence Cannon Conference victory Friday night in a battle of unbeaten and state-ranked teams.
"We threw three different defenses at them in the last six minutes," said Weaver, whose Clark County team is ranked ninth in Class 3. "We played our 2-3 zone to pack it in. Our 1-3-1 gave them a different look and got them out of rhythm, and we played man-to-man a few different possessions.
"I just felt like they started to get comfortable, and we needed to make a change."
Monroe City (13-1, 1-1 CCC), ranked No. 3 in Class 3, didn't look comfortable in the fourth quarter.
Senior Delanie Okenfuss grabbed her own rebound on a missed 3-pointer and made the putback to tie the game at 39 with 5 minutes, 59 seconds remaining in regulation. The Panthers missed their next seven shots and committed two turnovers, failied to score again until junior Jada Summers made a layup with 14 seconds left to play.
After Okenfuss made her putback, Clark County guard Drenda Hess and Bevans made baskets on consecutive possessions to push the lead to 43-39. Neither side scored again until Bevans grabbed a missed 3-pointer by forward Aubry Boulware and scored to push the lead to six points with 2:31 to play.
Clark County's Abby Brown split a pair of free throws with 1:41 remaining, and Boulware grabbed the offensive rebound as the Indians melted more time off the clock. Maggie Schutte sank four free throws in the final 23.2 seconds.
The Indians (13-0, 2-0) grabbed four offensive rebounds in the final eight minutes.
"Up until that last stretch, anytime they got a lead, we made a little run to either tie it or get the lead," Monroe City coach Cody Leonard said. "We just didn't have another one left in us."
Neither side led by more than five points before the fourth quarter. Monroe City scored the first five points of the game, and Clark County led 23-18 late in the second quarter. The score was tied after the first and second quarters.
In the closing seconds of the third quarter, Schutte hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to give Clark County a 37-33 advantage.
"That was a big momentum change," Schutte said. "We got really pumped up."
Lauren Youngblood and Summers scored on consecutive trips down the floor to tie the game at 37. Boulware made a jumper before Okenfuss made her putback to tie the game at 39.
Summers led all scorers with 20 points while grabbing eight rebounds. Bevans led Clark County with 15 points, and Boulware scored 11.
Clark County 50, Monroe City 41
CLARK COUNTY (13-0, 2-0 CCC)
Hess 4 0-1 8, Brown 1 4-6 6, Schutte 1 4-4 7, Bevans 7 1-2 15, Boulware 4 0-0 11, Ross 0 3-4 3, Sedore 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 12-16 51.
MONROE CITY (13-1, 1-1 CCC)
Summers 8 4-7 20, D. Okenfuss 3 0-0 8, Youngblood 2 0-0 4, Hays 1 0-0 3, E. Okenfuss 2 0-0 6, Quinn 0 0-0 0, Dyer 0 0-0 0, St. Clair 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 4-7 41.
Clark County 10 13 14 13--50
Monroe City 10 13 10 8--41
3-point field goals--Clark County 4 (Boulware 3, Schutte), Monroe City 4 (D. Okenfuss 2, E. Okenfuss 2). Fouls--Clark County 11, Monroe City 16. Fouled out--D. Okenfuss.