Darren Doyle, story:
The Edmonson County Lady Cats defeated the McLean County Lady Cougars 46-43 in the semi-finals of the All A Classic, hosted by Trinity High School in Whitesville on Monday night. The Lady Cats were able to begin play in the semi-finals thanks to a bye in the tournament.
Despite early turnovers and poor free throw shooting, Edmonson County established an early lead which could be credited to buckets scored in the paint on dribble drives. The Lady Cats also crashed the boards early (30 rebounds at the half, 41 for the game) and held McLean County to a miserable 16% first half shooting on 5-32 from the field, which included 3-18 from behind the arc.
After a solid start and a 16-9 first quarter lead, Edmonson County had trouble at times with offense as McLean turned up the defense with full court pressure. The Lady Cats held the Lady Cougars to only 6 points in the second quarter, but only put up 8 points themselves as they held a 34-26 halftime lead.
McLean County, who only averages 3 made three-pointers per game, shot the 3 early and kept on shooting them--29 of them, in fact. While they eventually shot 28% from behind the arc, they missed and missed badly in the first half, several of which were air balls that sailed out of bounds. However, 5 of those came in the second half (two in the final minutes) as the Lady Cougars cut their deficit to only two points on multiple occasions and one point with the game on the line. It was during these times that the memory of some ugly Lady Cat basketball in spots was erased as they hit key free throws that sealed the deal and some tough defense in the final seconds that gave Lady Cat fans a huge scare.
With 2:13 left in the game and the Lady Cats leading 41-33, McLean County's Sarah Miller connected on a three-pointer that cut it to 41-36. The Lady Cats were unable to score on their next possession out of a timeout and McLean's Maria Blades hit another three for the Lady Cougars to cut it to 41-39 lead with 1:32 to go.
Hallie Cassady was fouled as she drove to the right side with 1:19 to go. She hit one of two shots for a 42-39 lead. McLean County's Kashlynn Rice drove the lane and banked in an off-balance shot to cut the lead to 42-41 with 1:01 to go. McLean County called a 30 second timeout and afterwards, Edmonson County's Lily Jayne Vincent was fouled with 46 seconds to go. Going to the line for a 1-and-1, she nailed both free throws (4-4 on the game) to give the Lady Cats a 44-41 lead. Cariann Williams blocked a Lady Cougar shot with 22 seconds left but she was unable to hang onto the ball and the Lady Cougars in-bounded the ball for another possession. McLean was able to draw a foul which put Natalie Patterson at the line. She hit both free throws with 18 seconds left to cut Edmonson's lead to 44-43.
Edmonson County was able to beat the full court press without putting the ball on the floor when senior Paige Wolfe was fouled with 4.2 seconds on the clock. She hit the first foul shot when McLean took a timeout. Wolfe hit her second one which left McLean with their final possession under full court pressure from the Lady Cats. A pass was made to McLean's Sarah Miller, who was met by Lily J Vincent and Emma White near the half court line. She picked up her dribble for a millisecond and put the ball back on the floor as she made a 35-footer with 0.6 seconds left. The shot would have tied the game but the double-dribble call voided the shot. Edmonson County in-bounded the ball as time expired and the game ended.
Wolfe led the Lady Cats with 23 points, Vincent added 8 points and 13 rebounds, Cassady had 8 points and 5 rebounds, Williams added 5 points and 8 rebounds, and Emma White had 2 points and 4 rebounds.
Edmonson County improves to 5-8 on the season and will take on Owensboro Catholic (11-4), who defeated Trinity 64-32 last night in the semi finals, on Wednesday at 6PM.
Edmonson County's boys will take on McLean County tonight at 7PM in Whitesville. The winner will advance to the boys' final, which is scheduled for Thursday night; however, that game could be moved up to Weds after the girls' final, due to potential snow in the forecast for Thursday.