BRANSON MO NEWS:
By Matt Turer — @MattTurer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Springfield, MO. — Two state championships and the fifth-longest win streak in state history couldn’t outshine the importance of these Pink and White semifinals for Strafford.
Knowing what stood on the other side—Branson and Priscilla Williams—certainly helped that focus.
“I was looking around and there was a lot of people out there and I looked down the bench and said, ‘This is what we work for. These big games,’” Strafford’s Hayley Frank said. “And fortunately we stepped up and played like we usually do in big games.”
Frank finished with 32 points and 10 boards, Zoey Mullings added 14 points and Maddison Chittenden 10 in Strafford’s 69-50 final over Branson (8-2), putting the Indians (11-0) in the Pink Bracket championship for the second consecutive season.
Williams added 29 for Branson but was the only Pirate able to get anything significant going on the offensive end.
In fact, Williams was responsible for all Branson’s field goals before Gracie Jaeger converted in the final minute of the first half.
“We kept trying to switch up and keep somebody fresh on her every couple minutes,” Strafford coach Steve Frank said. “She’s a heck of a player and you’ve got to give credit when credit is due. But I thought we did as much as could do defensively. You’ve just got to hold on and hope.”
Kayley Frank started the game guarding Williams, just like in the 2017 state championship when she began that game on Whitfield star Aijha Blackwell. Just like in that game, Strafford kept fresh bodies on Williams throughout.
“That frustrated [Blackwell] and put her out of her element and that was our gameplan today,” Frank said. “Not be dirty but be physical with her and try to get under her skin …
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