BURLINGTON JUNCTION, Mo. — Things could have not started much worse that they did for the West Nodaway girls basketball team in Wednesday’s 56-20 Northwest Missouri Tournament pool-play loss to Worth County. 

“They took advantage of their opportunity and we did not,” West Nodaway coach Taylor Dameron said.

After one quarter, the Rockets found themselves behind 20-0. The lead was 22-0 before sophomore Faith Sanders got the team’s first point with a free throw at the 7:02 mark in the second quarter. West Nodaway’s first field goal came with 1:20 to go in the half with an ‘and-one play’ from Lexi Moore. 

“Horrible start, I’ve been here for three years and that was probably one of the worst starts I’ve seen in my three years here,” Dameron said. “We just acted like we didn’t want to be here, which stinks because I thought we had an opportunity to compete with them, but we didn’t take advantage of that opportunity.”

At halftime, the Tigers led the Rockets 36-6. In the second half, Dameron began to see some of the traits that has him excited about the direction that the team is heading in. 

“Their fight was good and it has been there all year,” Dameron said.

West Nodaway senior Alissa Nelson and junior Brittany McIntyre led a much better second half for the Rockets. The two most experienced members of the West Nodaway team accounted for all 14 second-half points for the Rockets. Worth County was only able to out-score West Nodaway 20-14 after intermission.

Nelson had a team-high nine points for the Rockets while McIntyre had five and Moore and Sanders each had three. 

“Every single person that I put in there fought, we just have to find it with our five starters,” Dameron said. “We had about three girls on the floor that wanted to play in the first quarter and then there were two that were just kind of standing around and you can’t have that.”

Worth County had three players in double figures sophomore Anna Gladstone leading all scorers with 12 points while Kristin New and Kaylee McElvain each had 10. Other scorers for the Tigers were Jill Hardy with eight, Regan Allee with six, Jessi Badellwith four, Jenna Smith with four and Meredith Spiers with two.

Worth County advances to the championship game on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. against East Atchison. West Nodaway will play in Friday’s fifth-place game at 5 p.m. against Nodaway-Holt. 

“I told them in the locker room that we just have to flush it,” Dameron said. “We have an opportunity to win another trophy.”