MELISSA — Howe’s Lady Bulldogs held off Melissa for a 43-40 win in the season-opener for both teams on Nov. 12 at Melissa Middle School. Forward Sierra Copeland led Howe with a game-high 19 points in a contest the Class 3A Lady Bulldogs led, 26-15, at halftime. The Lady Cards rallied from 16 down in the third-quarter - with full-court pressure, a bushel of steals and shots that started to fall - to lead, 38-36, but Howe clapped back down the stretch.


Guard Wendy Clemmons tallied a team-high 12 points for Melissa while fellow guard Mya Ellis chipped in 10 – including the Lady Cards’ first 3-pointer of the game, midway through the third quarter.


“We didn’t come with energy early,” Melissa head coach Chris Oestreich said. “If we’d have come with the same energy in the first half that we did at the end of the third quarter and in the fourth quarter, I think the outcome would be a lot different.”


He added, “We just didn’t shoot the ball very well tonight, and we’re a pretty good shooting team from the perimeter. The shots didn’t fall in the first half. A few of them fell in the second half and that helped us close the gap a little bit. We’re a better perimeter shooting team than what we showed tonight. … We can pressure people, but we’ve got be able to execute and hit shots. And we were below 50-percent from the free throw line. You’re not going to win very many games when you do that.”


Said Howe head coach Derek Lands, “I thought we played, in spurts, pretty good. We got ahead of them, 15 or 16 points, and we kind of just shut it down instead of getting on after it. We lost the momentum for a while. But I thought they did a good job the last two or three minutes of the ball game.”


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Howe 10 16 10 7 - 43


Melissa 8 7 13 12 - 40


Howe scoring - Sierra Copeland 19, Katie Grogan 8, Trinity Williams 7, Jenna Honore’ 3, Cassidy Anderson 3, Ally Harvey 2, Molly Wilson 1.


Melissa scoring - Wendy Clemmons 12, Mya Ellis 10, Mia Ellis 8, Ashley Gideon 4, Jayden Bullard 2, Grace Moorhart 2, Katie Sparks 2.