In a matchup of perhaps the area’s top two high school girls’ basketball teams this season, offensive possessions were at a premium when the St. James Lady Tigers and Sullivan Lady Eagles hooked up in a Four Rivers Conference clash Monday night at Donati Gym.


ST. JAMES -- In a matchup of perhaps the area’s top two high school girls’ basketball teams this season, offensive possessions were at a premium when the St. James Lady Tigers and Sullivan Lady Eagles hooked up in a Four Rivers Conference clash Monday night at Donati Gym.
And Sullivan’s Hailee Parks ended up having the biggest possessions in overtime.
Parks, a 5-11 senior all-state forward who has already signed to play at Missouri S&T next season, poured in eight points in the extra period, giving the Lady Eagles a 43-41 league win.
Sullivan, in its conference opener, improved to 6-1 overall. It was the first loss of the season for the Lady Tigers, now 7-1 overall and 2-1 in the Four Rivers.
The game matched the top two teams of the conference from a year ago. Last season St. James went unbeaten to win the Four Rivers title, but Sullivan bounced back to beat the Lady Tigers on its way to the district tourney crown.
Monday’s loss foiled a comeback for the Lady Tigers, who trailed by six points only to score the final six points of regulation to force the extra period.
A layup by 6-1 sophomore center Carissa Richardson with 5:38 left in the fourth period gave Sullivan a 34-28 advantage.
At the 4:22 mark St. James’ 5-7 junior guard Ashley Hoener canned a five-footer. Neither team would score again until St. James 5-7 junior guard Jordan Bowen netted a 17-foot jumper off the right baseline with 1:47 remaining in regulation, cutting the home team’s deficit to two, 34-32.
On Sullivan’s following possession Hoener made a steal near halfcourt and was fouled going in for a layup attempt. She canned both pressure free throws with 1:31 left to tie the game at 34.
Sullivan tried to set up a play but turned the ball over at the :45 mark and St. James called a time out. St. James worked for the final shot, but Sullivan knocked the ball out of bounds with three seconds left.
On the inbounds play St. James got the ball to 5-10 sophomore guard Rachel Connell, who got off a hurried, 12-footer in the lane which was off the mark at the buzzer, forcing overtime.
St. James never led in overtime, thanks to Parks.
Parks’ 15-footer off the right baseline with 1:25 left upped the Sullivan edge at 40-36.
Connell drained a three-pointer  with 1:06 remaining to cut the Lady Eagle advantage to one point.
Sullivan kept the lead at the free throw line inside the final minute.
Richardson hit one-of-two free throws with :31 left. On their next possession the Lady Tigers drove the lane but Richardson blocked a shot and Parks was fouled with :11 left. She hit both ends of the one-and-one to make it 43-39.
Connell hit a driving layup with :01 left and St. James called timeout with 0.6 of a second remaining. Sullivan inbounded the ball and time ran out.
Sophomore guard Jett Bouckeart scored 10 points in the first half as Sullivan jumped to an early lead.
The Lady Eagles took a 15-10 lead after the first period.
Only a total of 10 points were scored in the second period and the Lady Eagles took a 19-16 edge into halftime.
“It was a good game,” said St. James head coach Brad Conway. “In the whole game I thought we had about three situational possessions where we didn’t get a shot off. We showed a lot of pride, being down by six and coming back to tie and force overtime.
“We were a little timid a couple of times with shots. Defensively we had three or four breakdowns that kind of hurt us. We didn’t do a good job a couple of times with Hailee (Parks) popping to the top of the key. But I thought we did a real good job rebounding. Sullivan is a solid team. But there is a lot of season left.”
Bowen led St. James with 15 points and six rebounds while Hoener had 12 points; Connell 11 points and six rebounds, and 5-10 senior post Brittany Herode six boards.
Parks finished with a game-high 16 points while Bouckeart and senior guard Monica Pyrtle each had 10 points.
St. James won the junior varsity game 52-25. The Lady Tiger jayvee squad took a 16-7 lead after the first period and was up 31-9 at halftime. It was 42-20 entering the fourth period.
Sophomore guard Kaylea Pogue led a balanced Lady Tiger jayvee scoring attack with 12 points.

Park Hills Tourney
St. James is the top-seeded team for the Park Hills Central Tournament, to be held Dec. 26-27, 29-31.
The Lady Tigers are seeded No. 1, Ste. Genevieve No. 2, Bismarck No. 3, Fredericktown No. 4, Potosi No. 5, Park Hills Central No. 6, Arcadia Valley No. 7 and South Iron No. 8.
In first-round games on Friday St. James meets South Iron at 10 a.m., Fredericktown faces Potosi at 11:30 a.m., Bismarck takes on Central at 1 p.m. and Ste. Genevieve tangles with Arcadia Valley at 2:30 p.m.
In consolation games on Saturday the St. James-South Iron loser plays the Fredericktown-Potosi loser at 10 a.m. and the Bismarck-Central loser plays the Ste. Genevieve-Arcadia Valley loser at 11:30 a.m.
In semifinal action on Monday, Dec. 29 the St. James-South Iron winner plays the Fredericktown-Potosi winner at 1 p.m. while the Bismarck-Central winner plays the Ste. Genevieve-Arcadia Valley winner at 2:30 p.m.
On Wednesday, Dec. 31 the consolation final is slated for 10:30 a.m. while the third-place game is to begin at 3 p.m. and the championship game at 6 p.m.