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FESTUS, Mo. – The North County girls basketball team was outscored by Festus 17-4 during the third quarter after holding a 19-15 lead at halftime on Monday.

The Lady Raiders relinquished their slight edge due to 10 turnovers during the third period, and the Tigers proceeded to a 49-35 triumph.

Festus (13-8) adjusted its defense after the break to deny entry passes intended for Kayleigh Winch, who previously recorded eight of her 21 points in the second quarter. The newly enforced scheme limited her to just a lone trip to the foul line during the third period.

Winch added 13 rebounds and two blocks for North County (13-11), while Tiffani Thomas contributed seven rebounds.

The Tigers held North County scoreless in the second half until free throws from Winch made the score 21-18 with 4:15 remaining in the third quarter.

Abby Rickermann immediately evened the game on the following possession with a corner 3-pointer. Maddie Welsh sank a pair from the line with 3:25 on the clock, as Festus generated a 14-0 run to accelerate ahead.

Rickermann paced the Tigers with 20 points, including three shots from the perimeter. Welsh provided eight of her 12 points from the foul line and added nine rebounds, while Jenna Oetting notched 11 points.

Festus shot 19-of-28 at the stripe, while North County ended 5-of-11.

Alyssa Huber dropped in the lone basket of the third quarter for the Lady Raiders by covering the length of the floor to scoop in a layup at the buzzer and bring the score within 32-23.

The North County guards began connecting with Winch in the post more frequently during the final period, but struggled to keep the Tigers away from the free-throw line.

Huber was called for an intentional foul after attempting to block Oetting from behind on a fast break layup with one minute to play. North County head coach Zac McVey was handed a technical foul moments later for disagreeing with the initial call.

Oetting exited the game with an apparent head injury, so Rickermann split the resulting responsibility from the stripe with Jessica Hebenstreit to gain a 49-35 advantage.

The Lady Raiders entered the contest with energetic defensive effort, and made up for its careless passing with a transition attack.

Ella Gant crashed the boards and made precise passes into the post early to help gain an edge. Winch blocked a last-second shot near the basket to help protect a 9-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.

North County maintained a slight edge through the second by restricting a frequently attempted pick-and-roll strategy from Festus. Oetting slashed to the rim and floated a layup of the glass with two seconds on the clock to bring the Tigers within 19-15 at the break.

The Lady Raiders will host the STL Patriettes on Thursday.

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Sports Reporter

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