Lady Cats Down Cougars On Their Home Court For Title, 55-41
Darren Doyle, story: Alyssa Doyle, photos:
For the first time in school history, the Edmonson County Lady Cats are back-to-back-to-back District 12 Champions after defeating the Lady Cougars of Grayson County 55-41 on their own home court.
Led by junior guard Katie Lindsey's 27 points, Edmonson County fought a back-and-forth match during the first half, while overcoming a first quarter deficit. The Lady Cougars got the tip and nailed a three-pointer and Edmonson fans wondered if it would be a repeat of the boys' game on Tuesday night; however, that wouldn't be the case.
Edmonson County scratched back on top just before halftime, capped off by junior Macie McCombs huge three with two seconds left. The Lady Cats led 23-19 at the break.
Edmonson County would not lose the lead again, despite a run by Grayson County to start the fourth quarter. A three-pointer from the Lady Cougars cut the Lady Cat lead to 39-33 with 6:52 to go but both teams went on a drought for the next minute and a half. With about five minutes left in the game, Edmonson began to pull away, which forced Grayson County to foul.
Edmonson County shot 67% from the free throw line, a number much better than they've shown as of late, which included 11/13 attempts from senior Lauren Ballance, who finished with 15 points. She hit 8 consecutive free throws down the stretch and also pulled 7 rebounds.
Lindsey described what it was like to be part of the third consecutive district championship team.
"This is unreal, this is the first time we've ever done this in history," she said. "I mean, it's just unreal. I can't believe we've managed to do that."
After last week's 31-point blowout over the Lady Cougars at ECHS, both Lindsey and Ballance said they weren't looking for the same result, but they were prepared for tonight's championship game.
"We weren't overconfident," said Lindsey. "We didn't overlook them by thinking we were just going to come in here and win but we were ready to play."
"They're in their home gym, we knew they would make runs," Ballance added. "Madison (Harrison) was on the bench (with foul trouble) but we knew we'd have to weather the storm and that was our game plan."
The Lady Cats were uncharacteristically out-rebounded by the Lady Cougars, 20-25, but Edmonson's defense caused problems for Grayson County all night and they were able to turn Grayson County turnovers into points in the second half. Edmonson County only committed 5 turnovers as a team.
Coach Bart Weaver talked about how proud he was of his entire team and credited a team effort for the win.
"This is something we've been talking about all year and it's been our ultimate goal," he said. "It just feels so good and I'm so proud of these senior girls that have put their heart and soul into this. Some of them have been playing six years. And the rest of the team, it was just a total team effort tonight and it makes a little more special to cut the nets here, too."
In addition to Lindsey and Ballance, McCombs had 7 points, Paige Wolfe had 3, Emma Rose Vincent had 2, and Madison Harrison had one point.
"We were sitting in class today and someone said 'do you realize you have a chance to make history?' and we were like 'yeah, we're gonna do it,' and it's just the best feeling in the world," said Ballance.
Lindsey said the team decided in the third quarter that it was time to get more aggressive. They outscored the Lady Cougars 14-10 in the quarter.
"We knew in the third that it was the most important time of the game, and we knew that was the time to put it away, in the beginning of the third."
While it wasn't the blowout like last week, it was enough for a third consecutive district championship.
The Lady Cats will draw on Saturday to find out who they will face in next week's Region 3 Tournament at the Owensboro Sportscenter. Because they are a district champion, they will face off against a district runner-up. As of now, it looks as though they will play either Monday or Tuesday night.
Edmonson County improves to 20-10 on the season.
Click here for video interviews of players and Coach Weaver: