Record-Breaking Lady Cat Season Ends With 53-41 Loss To Lady Mustangs
Darren Doyle, story: Madison Doyle, photos:
The historic 2017-18 Edmonson County Lady Cat season came to an end last night as Edmonson County fell to the Muhlenberg County Lady Mustangs 53-41 in the Region 3 semifinals, thanks to a stellar defensive effort from Muhlenberg County.
Edmonson County has consistently ranked in several of the state's top statistical categories over the course of the season, one being total team field goal percentage, where they were listed at #4 going into last night's game at 49.6%. Muhlenberg's defense held the Lady Cats' shooting at only 38% for the game. Edmonson County also shot poorly from the free throw line, connecting on only 25% of shots. The team has been one of the better teams in the state all season long, normally shooting more than 70% as a whole.
The team's leading scorers in seniors Caitlin Simon and Peyton Martin were held to 18 combined points. They averaged 36.8 points per game going into last night's game.
Edmonson trailed 15-9 after the first quarter and had cut the deficit to 22-18 at the half. Muhlenberg's man-to-man defense made the comeback difficult for the Wildcats and a triangle-and-two bothered Simon and Martin all night long.
Muhlenberg County was able to create more space in the fourth on both drives to the basket and perimeter shooting. They hit their free throws in the final minutes to extend their lead and move on to the region final game on Sunday.
Coach Kevin Jackson said it was obvious that his team was rattled from time to time and that it was difficult for the Lady Cats to get any momentum when they need it most.
"Muhlenberg hit some shots early, we missed several early, and that happens," said Jackson. "We were still only down four at the half and we had a good positive talk at halftime about 'hey, the second half will be ours,' but we came back out with that same blank stare. I don't know if it was nerves or what. Sometimes it's hard to tell with kids, and what's going on in their minds, but I can't blame one person for doing something bad or wrong, it was just that the team effort didn't get the job done tonight."
Although the game and the season didn't end as expected and Jackson was solemn after the game, he was still able to smile when asked about the overall success of the record-breaking season that brought a district championship back to Lady Cat basketball for the first time in 20 years, along with more wins than any other girls' basketball team in Edmonson County history.
"You could argue that this is the best (Lady Cat) team ever, as far as from top to bottom," he said. "It's been a pleasure for me. I want to thank our fans that came down tonight and the ones at home listening. I know I've heard so many positive things about this group and they have nothing to be ashamed of."
"I also want to say thanks to our coaching staff and support staff," he continued. "They don't get much of the attention, but they do the dirty work with me that when nobody else is watching. Terry Alexander is keeping stats, Tom Vincent is keeping stats, Tyra (Ballance) and Christy (Clark) on the coaching staff, it's been a total team effort. I love this bunch and it's probably been the most fun I've had."
For five seniors, it was their final game. Caitlin Simon, Peyton Martin, Katlin Collins, Skylar Lewis, and Abby Alexander. All have played valuable roles on the team for several seasons. Three of them have received offers to play basketball at the collegiate level, including Simon, Martin, and Collins.
Simon finished as the all-time leading scorer for Edmonson County girls basketball with a career total of 2,564 points, according to team and KHSAA stats. Peyton Martin finished as number four on that list with 1,740.
"When you lose five seniors like we have," Jackson shook his head. "It's been such a pleasure for me to be around the last three years. Everybody told me that they were good players, but nobody mentioned how good of people they were when I mentioned coming back. I would've jumped on that quicker had I known how good of people they are, but those five seniors left their mark on Lady Cat basketball. Whether it's their record, their behavior, whatever it is, they left their mark. To lose five quality ladies, it's disappointing and it hurts."
Jackson said he'd never have anything but good things to say about the senior-led team and wished them nothing but the best in their futures.
The Lady Cats were led by Chanley Logsdon with 13 points, Martin finished with 10, Simon had 8 points and 7 rebounds, Lauren Ballance had 7, and Collins had 3.
The Lady Cats finish the season at 29-5, the best in school history. They are the 2018 District 12 Champions and the 2018 Region 3 All A Champions.