Frazier, Turner lead Diamond to win over Miller

Jan. 26—DIAMOND, Mo. — Grace Frazier scored 34 points in three quarters and Lauren Turner chipped in 22 over the course of the game as Diamond rolled to a 68-50 victory over Miller on Friday night at Diamond High School.

The win moves the Wildcats to 17-2 overall and gives them a sixth win in a row. The Cardinals fall to 13-7.

"They're our two leading scorers," Diamond head coach Marty Atnip said about Frazier and Turner. "But I felt like the others did what they needed. Maybe they don't do as much offensively as far as scoring, but they set good screens, they make good passes."

Frazier added that a game like this against a strong opponent gets the team ready to go.

"Oh, yeah. Before the game, all our girls were just pumped. This whole week we've been excited to play them," Frazier said. "Miller's just so competitive, and it's always a good game."

Miller set the tone early, grabbing a 2-0 lead off a basket from Kendall Neely. Lauren Turner scored for Diamond to tie the game, and it looked like this contest was on its way to a back-and-forth offensive shootout.

The scoring continued as Ashlynn Helton drilled a trey to put the Cardinals up 5-2, but then Frazier walked down floor and pulled up from a few feet of the 3-point line and buried one herself to tie the game again.

Then it was Neely with an offensive rebound and putback to get Miller back ahead at 7-5. Diamond got its first lead as Frazier lined up another 3-pointer to make it 8-7.

Miller had an answer as Loghann Leivan knocked down a shot from beyond to arc to get the lead back at 10-8. Helton was later fouled and made one of two free throws to make it 11-8.

A turnover by the Wildcats with 3:40 left in the opening stanza gave the Cardinals a chance to stretch their lead. They did exactly that as Rachel Nunez got involved.

The sophomore attacked the basket on back-to-back possessions from the free throw line and drove down the lane for two layups to make it 15-8.

Diamond scored 7 of the quarter's final 11 points to get a little closer. Turner hit a 3-pointer — her first of the game — to boost the offense a bit.

Miller led 19-15 after eight minutes of play.

Diamond used that little momentum at the end the first to outscore Miller 21-6 in the second. The Wildcats also went on a 19-3 run to end the second quarter. They got their first 6 points on free throws — 4 from Frazier and 2 from Turner. Frazier scored 16 in the second quarter.

"We switched to a zone defense. Kind of a matchup zone trying to change the rhythm up a little bit," Atnip said. "We wanted to get them out of their comfort zone a bit."

Miller got into some foul trouble and had Leivan and Nunez on the bench late in the second quarter with three fouls each.

"We got them into foul trouble there in that second quarter that was obviously a big key to the game," Atnip added. "We made our free throws. ... We started taking it to the basket, getting them in foul trouble and even getting some and-1's."

Frazier went 2 for 2 at the line to make it 22-21 and then Helton hit a timely 3-pointer to make it 25-21 in favor of Miller. That was the last time the Cardinals scored in the quarter. Diamond scored 15 in a row after that to hold a 36-25 lead at intermission.

Miller quickly cut the deficit to just 7 with scores from Helton and Leivan. Diamond's duo of Turner and Frazier each scored to get their lead back to 11 with 6:16 to go in the third.

Helton drew contact and got to the free throw line and made both charities to make it 40-31.

Nunez picked up her fourth foul at the 6:01-mark of the third period and sat until there was just one minute left. Leivan picked up her fourth foul around the midway point of the quarter and also sat until there was one minute left.

"Fouls are fouls. It's part of the game. Everybody has to be ready to step in a do a job," Miller head coach Mike White said. "We did the best that we could in that spell there. Diamond's a great basketball team. They played lights out. Fouls ain't it. They came to play and took it to us."

Diamond started to run away from that point on and it began with a stepback 3-pointer from Frazier that drew plenty of separation to bury the shot. That made it a 12-point lead, and the lead was double digits for the remainder of the game.

Miller fought until the last few minutes of the game. With 2:20 seconds left, Diamond turned the ball over leading 67-50. The next defensive possession, Makalynn Lafferty blocked the shot of a driving Helton. Helton fouled seconds later, and that's when coach White pulled his starters and Atnip did the same. That was one of two blocks down the stretch for Lafferty.

"She averages almost two blocks per game, so she's kind of that rim protector, even though we're not at the rim," Atnip said. "She causes them to maybe not have a clean look."

Atnip left some overall thoughts on the game saying that his group "scored 68 points on a good team" and the "offensive efficiency" was much better than the last game against Stockton.

"We made that a concerted effort the next two days of practice (Wednesday and Thursday) to be more efficient," he said.

This was a rematch of the championship game in the Gem City Classic back on Dec. 2. Diamond won that game 47-41.

Atnip added this about Miller: "They're a well-coached team. They're really good. I expect them to win a lot more games. We're pleased and happy that we came away with a victory because they're a team to be reckoned with, for sure."

Turner made four 3-pointers in the game, and Frazier finished with five.

"She's someone I really like preparing for," White said of Frazier. "We were able to contain her a little bit last year, but she's gotten a lot better. ... She makes it tough, and she's a really good player."

Helton led the way for Miller with 19 points, and Leivan added 16.

Frazier talked about the feeling of the team after six straight wins.

"It's exciting. We're all meshing together. We're all equally having great games and that's what we need to keep winning these big games like this. When we all have good games that's when we win the big games."

Diamond is back in action Tuesday at Seneca and then heads to Marionville (15-4) on Thursday.