Darren Doyle, story: Madison Doyle, photos:
After the first quarter, Lady Cat fans expected a blowout from their team as Edmonson County connected early on three-pointers and took a 21-9 lead; however, that lead wouldn't last long and the game got interesting pretty quickly.
Edmonson County eventually found a way to win after trailing with just over two minutes to go, thanks in part to key rebounds, defense, and much improved free throw shooting in the final seconds. Thanks also in part to junior point guard Annie Kiper, a Grayson County transfer, who in only her second game as a Lady Cat, scored 20 points on 5-8 shooting (62%) from the field, which included 2-3 from the three-point line (67%). She was also a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line, including two with 9.5 seconds left. She has not missed a free throw as a Lady Cat.
Edmonson County had a terrible second quarter as they scored only 4 points and allowed Clinton County to tie the score at 25 at the half.
From there on, it was nip-and-tuck with the Lady Cats leading most of the way, but only by one or two points.
Clinton County took their first lead of the game on a free throw by guard Aysha Sutton with 6:22 to play. The Lady Bulldogs would lead for the next four minutes, but that would be all.
With Edmonson County trailing 41-38, Lady Cat eighth grader Cariann Williams (4pts, 6rbs) grabbed a rebound off a missed free throw from Clinton with 2:23 to go. Kiper hit Hallie Cassady on a backdoor cut and she scored to cut the Lady Bulldog lead to only one with 2:13 to go.
Edmonson County's Kiper picked the pocket of Clinton County's Mackenzie Cope in a full court press. Kiper slipped in the process, kept her dribble while on the ground, recovered and was fouled by Cope on the layup attempt with 2:01 to go. She hit both free throws to give the Lady Cats a 42-41 lead, their first since the end of the third quarter.
The Lady Cats led as much as 6 with just 31 seconds to go; however, the Lady Bulldogs grabbed an offensive rebound on a missed shot and hit a three to cut the lead to 47-44 with only 21 seconds to go. They stole the inbound pass from the Lady Cats on the next play and were fouled with 20 seconds left. Clinton County inbounded and got a cheap foul call against the Lady Cats with 13.9 left. They hit both free throws and cut the Lady Cat lead to 47-46.
Kiper caught the inbound pass and was fouled hard as Clinton County's Cope wrapped her arms around Kiper's body and took her down. No intentional foul was called, despite the argument from the Edmonson County bench. With a swollen elbow from the fall, Kiper iced her two free throws with 9.5 seconds left and the Lady Cats held on to win as Clinton County missed their last shot attempt.
Head Coach Bart Weaver said the halftime discussion revolved around Clinton County's ability to score off put-backs, which allowed them back into the game. Edmonson County narrowly lost the rebounding battle (34-33) but he said lower turnovers (15) and outstanding free throw shooting (81% compared to 48% on Friday) were the differences, mixed in with the strong performance from Kiper.
"She's a leader," he said. "I thought that of her when she wasn't here, she was (playing) somewhere else. I've always admired her for being such a great leader and she's continued that, coming here and she's won everybody over. That's a credit to her, and listen, it's a credit to our kids, to let an outsider come in from across the street."
Lily Jayne Vincent also had a solid performance with 14 points and 10 rebounds. She also hit 4-5 from the free throw line; two down the stretch.
In addition to Kiper, Vincent, and Williams, also scoring for the Lady Cats were Hallie Cassady with 4pts and 6 rebs, Emma White with 3, Jaedlyn Simon with 3, and Paige Wolfe added one.
Edmonson County is now 7-12 on the season and will travel to Logan County tonight for a JV/V game beginning at 6pm. The boys are scheduled to take on Central Hardin tonight at home with a JV/V starting at 5:30.