A big spurt early fueled the Mason County girls’ basketball team into the semifinals of the 10th Region Tournament at The Fieldhouse.
After Paris opened up with the first four points of the game, the Lady Royals used a 21-0 run spanning nearly seven minutes from the first quarter into the second, coasting the rest of the way to a 50-32 victory over the Lady Hounds.
“The run kind of opened our eyes a little bit. We’ve only seen them on film, haven’t seen them in person or played them in a couple years,” Lady Royals coach Brad Cox said. “Having them come out and score those couple baskets, it kind of reset our focus a little bit and got us into that mode of having to get out and attack.”
The rebounding battle would be key in the contest coming in with the Lady Hounds leading the state in rebounding, averaging over 40 rebounds a game, but the Lady Royals won the battle, 37-26.
The key cog in that was Kara Moran as she tallied 12 rebounds to go with 11 points to pace the Lady Royals.
“Kara’s going to do whatever it takes to win. This is her last go-around and she’s just a warrior and will mix it up with anybody. I’m proud of her for her effort,” Cox said. “That was a big key for us which was rebounding coming in.”
After the run in which the Lady Royals led 21-4, Paris started to settle in a bit, trimming the deficit to 29-17 by halftime.
“The nerves got the best of us tonight. We hit the first two buckets of the game but I could tell we were nervous. That hurts you against a good team like Mason County when you go in droughts like we did,” Lady Hounds coach Aaron Speaks said.
The Lady Hounds were unable to get any closer than 13 in the second half as Mason County applied the defensive pressure, holding the Lady Hounds to 4-of-18 shooting in the second half with 10 forced turnovers.
Despite the 18-point victory, the Lady Royals had an off shooting night themselves as they shot 37 percent from the field and 22 percent from the 3-point line. They’re hopeful that’s out of their system as they’ll face a much tougher test come Friday night against Scott, a team that knocked them off 64-49, back on January 24.
“We’re going to have to make more shots come Friday. I thought we had pretty good looks tonight, but you have to give Paris credit with their athleticism and length. That caused us to miss some, but we’ll adjust and we’ll work on it. Hopefully we got our bad shooting night out of the way,” Cox said.
After Moran’s double-double, AJ Reed added nine points and five assists, Victoria Brooks and Emma Taylor each chipped in eight with Samantha Schumacher tossing in seven.
The win improved the Lady Royals to 19-11.
Paris had a special moment in the closing seconds as senior Kiara Garrard recorded her 1,000th career point on a layup.
“She didn’t have a clue. I knew if I told her she never would have made the bucket. We tried to run some plays for her down the stretch and were hopeful to get a layup or a couple free throws out of it and we were fortunate enough for her to get the basket,” Speaks said.
Garrard ended tying for a game-high 11 points with teammate Zoe Strings and Moran. Kailee Finch added four points and six rebounds in her final game as a Lady Hound.
“It’s hard to replace a Kailee Finch and Kiara Garrard for sure,” Speaks said.
The potential is there for Paris as they came into Tuesday’s game starting two freshman and a seventh grader.
“Our freshman team won the district and regional championship, our seventh grade team went 21-0 and eighth graders went 17-3. We’ll have some kids ready to play next year for sure,” Speaks said.
SCOTT 77, HARRISON COUNTY 44
Scott stepped up its defensive intensity in the second quarter and ended up winning big over Harrison County in the second contest of the day Tuesday.
The Lady Eagles used a 25-5 run to close out the first half, holding the Fillies to three points in the second quarter as they advanced to Friday’s semifinal vs Mason County with a 77-44 victory.
Anna Clephane started the contest off hot with 10 points in the first quarter, matching the Fillies point total in the frame as they took a 19-10 lead into the second.
Clephane would finish with 28 points on the night as she stuffed the stat sheet with 28 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and three steals.
In the stifling second quarter, the Lady Eagles forced five turnovers and held Harrison to one made field goal as they took a 36-13 lead into the half.
Clephane and company continued to cook in the second half as they opened up a 30-point lead with an 11-4 run to start the half. They’d continue to hold the 30-point edge headed into the fourth quarter at 56-26.
Scott secured a running clock the rest of the way with a 74-39 lead with two minutes to play before closing out the 33-point victory. The Lady Eagles improved to 18-14 in the victory.
After Clephane’s 28, Summer Secrist added 19 points, six rebounds and four assists. The Lady Eagles have met the Lady Royals once on the year, a 64-49 Scott victory back on January 24 at The Fieldhouse.
Harrison County’s season comes to a close with a 25-6 record, champions of the 38th District. The Fillies were led by Madison Kellione’s 18 points while Gabrielle Hatterick added 16 points. The Fillies will be a team to watch next year as they graduate just Christy Adams off the roster.