Grayson County’s Lady Cougars earned the second-place trophy last weekend in the Lady Storm/UMW Invitational, held at Hopkins County Central High School.
Saturday afternoon, the Lady Cougars played one of their best games of the season as they defeated Daviess County 44-41 in one semi-final match-up. Kaylan Shull was named that game’s MVP after scoring a8 points, including four three-pointers.
That win put them into the tournament final, where they were defeated by the Owensboro Lady Devils 67-45.
The formula for several of the early losses for the Lady Cougars had been poor shooting and careless ball handling.
While the Lady Cougars shot a little better against Daviess County, it was nothing to write home about. They hit 16-of-52 shots from the field, or 31 percent, not great but much better than the 18 percent they shot in the first half against Ohio County and the 19 percent they shot in the first quarter against John Hardin.
In their win over Crittenden County in Friday’s tournament opener, the Lady Cougars committed just 11 turnovers in the game, which the Rockets could turn into just two points. Against the Lady Panthers, the Lady Cougars committed 21 turnovers, but just six in the second half when the game was decided. Daviess County could convert just six points from those turnovers.
Regardless, this game was close from start to finish. There were five ties and 10 lead changes in the game, and neither team led by more than four points.
A three-pointer by Sarah Pierce with 1:12 left in the first quarter saw the Lady Cougars take a four-point advantage, 13-9, but Daviess County’s Rachel Holland hit a three and Brooke Lewis scored on a lay-up to give the Lady Panthers a one-point lead, 14-13, heading into the second period.
Despite neither team being able to get much done in the second period, the lead changed hands four times before Jodi Decker hit 1-of-2 at the line with 2:49 left to tie the score at 20-20. Kirsti Sallwaechter closed out the first-half scoring with two free throws with 1:13 remaining and Daviess County led 22-20 at the half.
Three more lead changes and two more ties occurred in the third quarter. Shull’s three-pointer at the 2:24 mark gave the Lady Cougars a 29-27 lead, but Niki Currie scored on a put-back to tie it at 2:09. Sloane Embry then hit 1-of-2 at the line to give the Lady Cougars a 30-29 lead heading into the final period of play.
Tied 36-36 with 2:19 left, a Saalwaechter lay-in and 1-of-2 free throws from Nicole Wells gave the Lady Panthers their largest lead of the game, 39-36 with 1:36 left to play.
Following a Grayson County turnover, Daviess County had the chance to expand their lead when Saalwaechter went to the line in the bonus with 1:20 left, but she missed the front end. Maddie Stewart made the Lady Panthers pay by hitting a 15-footer with a minute left to make it a one-point game, 39-38.
Saalwaechter went back to the line in the bonus with 53 seconds left, but again missed the front end of the one-and-one. Shull then hit her fourth three of the game to put the Lady Cougars back on top to stay, 41-39. Pierce followed with a jumper to make it 43-39 with 34 seconds left before Wells scored to make it 43-41.
Decker went to the line with 12.7 seconds remaining with the chance to make it a two-possession game, but could hit just 1-of-2 to make it 44-41, which would be the final score.
Lewis led the Lady Panthers in scoring with 12 points. Shull was the only Lady Cougar in double figures and also led the team with three steals.
Stewart and Pierce both finished with seven points, and Stewart led the team on the boards with nine rebounds. Both Stewart and Pierce added three assists. Cassidy Swift scored four points and pulled down six rebounds.
Decker finished with three points, while Breanna Fulkerson and Grace White had two each. White also had five rebounds. Embry closed out the Lady Cougar scoring with one point.
As solid as Grayson County’s play had been in the previous two tournament games, it was at the opposite end of the spectrum against the Lady Devils. The Lady Cougars had 34 turnovers against Owensboro, which were converted into 31 points.
Owensboro is a pressing team, but many of the Lady Cougar turnovers were not attributable to the press. Pass after pass was thrown right into the hands of the Lady Devils. Still, Grayson County stayed in the game in the first half.
Grayson County trailed by three points, 16-13 after one period of play, but the Lady Devils opened the second period with an 8-2 run to build a nine-point advantage, 24-15 at the 6:17 mark.
Owensboro still led by eight points, 28-20 with 3:08 left in the period, but the Lady Cougars closed out the half with an 8-0 run. Stewart’s six-footer with 15 seconds remaining made it 28-28 at the half.
Swift scored on a lay-up at the 6:01 mark of the third quarter to tie the game 32-32. That would be the last time Grayson County was that close to a lead. Owensboro responded with an 8-2 run that saw them lead by six, 40-34 with 2:41 left in the period.
Stewart scored on a lay-up with 1:40 left to cut the deficit to four points, 42-38, and that’s when the Lady Devils took off. Tasha Golden put up a shot that looked way off-line, but it banked into the basket for a three-pointer. Casshai Green followed with a lay-in with 1:08 left to give the Lady Devils a nine-point lead, 47-38 heading into the fourth quarter.
Golden opened the scoring in the fourth quarter to push the Owensboro lead to 11 points, but Shull stopped the 7-0 run with a 10-footer to make it nine points once more, 49-40 with 6:52 left to be played.
The Lady Devils then put the game away with an 11-0 run that saw them take a 20-point lead, 60-40 with just 2:20 left.
Owensboro put three players into double figures, led by Sada Green’s 19 points. Golden had 15 points, including three threes, and Jordin Crabtree added 14.
Stewart led the Lady Cougars with 17 points and also led on the boards with seven rebounds. Shull scored 13 points and added three rebounds. White finished with five points and five rebounds, while Deceker and Taylor Higdon had three points apiece. Swift and Pierce had two points each, and Swift added five boards.