The Jefferson City Lady Jays picked up a big win Saturday night.
They still had another one to go.
"It was a big game Saturday, but this was another big game and the girls did a good job of staying focused on this one," Lady Jays coach Brad Conway said Sunday night after Jefferson City topped the Blue Springs South Jaguars 51-29 in the title game of the Jefferson Bank Holiday Hoops Classic at Rackers Fieldhouse.
The Lady Jays, ranked No. 1 in Class 5, advanced to the title game with a hard-fought 55-44 semifinal win Saturday against Deer Creek, the No. 1 team in Class 6A in Oklahoma. That got them to Sunday's clash against the Lady Jaguars, ranked No. 4 in Class 5.
"We knew we had to play well again if we expected to win this tournament," Conway said.
Jefferson City trailed just once Sunday, that at 2-0. The Lady Jays scored 10 of the next 11 points to take the lead for good on their way to a 13-7 advantage after the first quarter.
Brooke Bates hit a pair of 3-pointers and had eight points in the quarter for Jefferson City.
"Those were huge shots," Conway said. "She's really been working on her shot, trying to make them pay for leaving her open."
The Lady Jays began to pull away in the second quarter, doubling that six-point lead to take a 29-17 advantage into halftime.
It could have been a bigger lead.
"If we don't foul to send them to the line and miss some easy buckets, we could have been up by around 20," Conway said.
Conway was looking for a spark at the start of the third quarter. He thought of Hannah Nilges.
"On the way out of the locker room, I told the girls to see if we couldn't get Hannah a look or two," he said.
It was the spark Jefferson City needed. The junior guard scored the first seven points of the third quarter, which ended with the Lady Jays holding a 41-22 lead.
"She did a good job of clearing some space for herself and she hit her shots," Conway said.
The Lady Jays led by as many as 23 points in the final quarter.
Kara Daly, named to the all-tournament team, had a game-high 15 points to lead Jefferson City. Nilges finished with 13, while Bates totaled 10.
Jefferson City freshman Hannah Linthacum, who had five points and a game-high 10 rebounds Sunday, was selected as the MVP of the Classic.
"She played really well the entire tournament," Conway said. "She didn't score as much today, but she played great defense and pulled down a lot of big rebounds. Hannah did a lot of good things."
Sarah Linthacum of the Lady Jays also was an all-tournament team selection.
Jefferson City claimed consecutive Classic titles for the first time since winning three straight from 2002-04. The Lady Jays are the first repeat champion since the Hickman Kewpies won the titles in 2013-14.
Jaidynn Mason, an all-tournament pick, had 13 points to pace Blue Springs South (9-1). Lauren Gillig also was an all-tournament selection for the Lady Jaguars, who matched their best-ever Classic finish in 12 appearances. Blue Springs South also finished second in 1995 and 2013.
Jefferson City (10-0) is off until Jan. 7 when it plays at Sedalia Smith-Cotton.
"Our girls a little tired, it's going to be nice to have a couple of days off," Conway said. "We've got a chance to get some rest and be refreshed for the second part of the season."
It's the ninth title for Jefferson City in the 25-year history of the Classic.