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Lady Braves earn win in rivalry

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By Ryan Naus

The Grant County girls’ basketball team hoped that the momentum from the Forcht Bank/Dry Ridge Toyota Invitational, their home tournament, would carry over into the new year.

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The Lady Braves won three of their four games, finishing second for the second straight season. They followed with three losses in the KSA Classic in Orlando, Fla., but returned to Kentucky with a win against Bellevue on Jan. 2.

Going with their momentum, the Lady Braves earned a district win over cross county rival Williamstown, coming away with a 42-32 win on Jan. 4.

“It was a typical Grant County-Williamstown game,” GCHS coach Darrell Guffey said. “We held our composure and did some awfully good things in the second half. It was a fun game to coach in and a fun game for our players to play in. We were fortunate that they didn’t shoot the ball well and we’re fortunate to get a win.”

The Lady Braves trailed in the first quarter as Williamstown junior Tori Wilhoit provided all of her team’s offense, scoring 10 points to put the Lady Demons ahead 10-7 after the opening quarter.

Grant County turned to their defense and a player off the bench in the second quarter to take control. The Lady Braves held Williamstown scoreless in the second quarter and junior Brittany Hearn scored six points to help Grant County take a 16-10 lead at the half.

“When Brittany comes into the game with the right attitude, she’s a good player and can help us,” Guffey said. “For a stretch in the second quarter, she carried us. We were struggling to score and we went to her. She settled us down into the flow of the game. She has a lot of ability. Sometimes her sister (freshman Billie Hearn) gets a lot of attention, but we need both of them playing well. We got our first flash in a game what Brittany can do.”

The Lady Demons answered with six straight points to start the second half as junior Chelsea West hit two baskets and sophomore Susan Northcutt sank a free throw.

GCHS sophomore Morgan McClure and WHS sophomore Emma Harris traded scores as Harris put the Lady Demons ahead 20-19. The Lady Braves responded with five straight points before eventually going ahead 26-22 to end the third quarter.

The Lady Braves took control of the game in the final quarter, as Plunkett scored seven points and the team hit 10 of 14 free throws for the final score of 42-32.

“We made some good adjustments and our players did a great job of being coachable,” Guffey said. “This is my third year here and we’ve split with them each year. These cross county rivalries and district games mean a little more and it was nice for our players to win.”

When looking back at this game, Williamstown looks at their performance from the free throw line (two of 13) and the field (22 percent shooting).

“We’ve got to shoot the ball better,” WHS coach Mark Wilhoit said. “Our effort was there and our rebounding was better. But they were better at putting the ball in the basket.”

“We have to hit free throws,” West said. “The second quarter was awful. I think that’s where we lost the game. We lost by 10 and those points didn’t come at the end of the game. We were consistently scoring for the rest of the game, but the second quarter killed us.”

The Lady Demons now look forward to the next matchup when they host Grant County on Jan. 25.

“We need to make shots. Our free throws were terrible,” Tori Wilhoit said. “We have to be more focused in practice. We need to continue pushing each other to get better. We’ll be hungry and fired up when we play them at home.”