Lady Tigers can't keep pace with Jasper

Photo by Travis David/Daily Clarion

Princeton freshman Cortney Dove looks to get up a shot in the lane Thursday night against Jasper. Dove tallied a team-high 14 points in the loss.

No matter what happened Thursday night inside Tiger Arena, one team was going to to spoil the night for the other.

It was senior night for the Lady Tigers, while an undefeated Big Eight Conference season was on the line for Jasper.

Unfortunately for Princeton, the Lady Wildcats ended up spoiling senior night and celebrated a conference championship.

Jasper (15-7, 6-0) pulled away in the second half for a 56-42 win.

“They are a very good basketball team and I think they just completely outworked us tonight,” Princeton coach Brittany Maners said.

Jasper led 10-8 after the first eight minutes of play and held a slim 18-14 advantage at the break.

Then the Wildcats got into a groove with their outside shooting.

Back-to-back jumpers from Claire Knies -- the second coming from behind the arc -- pushed the Wildcats lead to 32-19 with 3 minutes, 18 seconds remaining in the third frame. It marked the largest deficit of the night, at the time for Princeton.

Knies finished with a game-high 23 points.

An old-fashioned 3-point play by Cortney Dove pulled the Lady Tigers back to within 33-25 with 1:32 remaining in the third frame.

But again Jasper had an answer.

The Wildcats held the ball for the last 65 seconds of the quarter before Riley Merder knocked down a jumper with three seconds left to push the lead back to 10 points heading into the final eight minutes of play.

Princeton pulled to within 37-30 after a pair of free throws from Keona Louis with 6:53 remaining in the game.

The Wildcats then put the game away with five straight makes from the field-- capped by back-to-back threes.

“They are a good shooting team and we knew that coming in,” Maners said of the Wildcats. “But when you leave them wide open like we did, a good basketball team is going to knock those shots down.”

Jasper’s largest lead would be 19 before the 14-point final margain.

“I don’t think we executed defensively in the second half like we did in the first half,” the Lady Tigers coach stated. “And I could see it on their faces when things didn’t go our way it looked like we just gave up. We completely lacked intensity to be honest with you.”

Dove led the Tigers with 14 points, while Hannah Sisk added 12 points.

Princeton (13-8, 4-2) concludes its regular season at Evansville Reitz on Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

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