Lady Birds show depth, tenacity in second half to knock out Indians and reach state quarterfinals

South Shelby junior guard Callie McWilliams was named to the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Class 3 all-state team. | Photo courtesy Mark Requet, Shelby County Herald

South Shelby's Callie McWilliams, right, looks to attack Elsberry's defense during Monday night's Class 3 sectional game in Shelbina, Mo. | Photo courtesy Mark Requet, Shelby County Herald

SHELBINA, Mo. — Belle Roush didn’t come out of the locker room at the start of the second half Monday night.

Her teammates didn’t let it faze them.

The South Shelby girls basketball team’s all-conference junior forward scored 12 points in the first half to stake the Lady Birds to a 27-21 lead over Elsberry in the Class 3 sectional, but she suffered a knee injury with 1:09 to go in the half and was attended to by trainers at halftime.

Without her, the Lady Birds simply went about their business of locking down the Indians and pulling away over the final 16 minutes, eventually posting a 47-30 victory after holding Elsberry to just two points in the third quarter.

“They knew if they did things the way they were supposed to they were going to be able to pull away at some point,” said South Shelby coach Luke O’Laughlin, whose team is in the elite eight for the third consecutive season. “They did a nice job of stepping up.”

No one stepped up more than freshman Reese Maupin, who came into the game averaging four points but scored seven in the second half and 11 overall.

“I don’t think she came out in the second half,” O’Laughlin said. “As a freshman who has to play in a playoff game and then has to stay in the whole time and does some good things, she played big. She generated some turnovers and got some rebounds and was able to score for us.”

Roush returned to the bench with 5:06 remaining in the third quarter, re-entered the game and promptly scored. However, she started hobbling after grabbing an offensive rebound and left the game for good about a minute after returning.

O’Laughlin said Roush will get checked out by a doctor Tuesday to determine if she may be ready to play by Friday when South Shelby (23-6) travels to Clarence Cannon Conference rival Centralia (24-4) for a quarterfinal matchup.

The Panthers eliminated California 56-48 in their sectional matchup, guaranteeing the CCC will have one representative in the final four. Friday’s game is scheduled to tip at 6 p.m.

Centralia beat South Shelby 62-28 at home on Dec. 12.

Monday night, a back-and-forth first quarter ended with the Lady Birds leading 15-12 and they extended that advantage to as many as nine points, but the Indians’ Grace White threw in a line drive from midcourt at the halftime buzzer to make it a two-possession game.

Elsberry didn’t score for the first four minutes of the second half and trailed 37-24 at the end of the third quarter. South Shelby’s advantage ballooned to as many as 19 points in the fourth quarter.

Roush led the Lady Birds with 14 points, while Callie McWilliams added 12 points.

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