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After battling Simon Kenton twice this year, the Grant County Lady Braves knew that they would have to play to near perfection to come away with a win against the Lady Pioneers in the district tournament.
They knew they would have to deal with their full-court pressure and prevent the Lady Pioneers from taking a huge early lead.
The Lady Braves fought, but ended up falling 63-35 in the first round to Simon Kenton.
“I thought we played hard and competed,” coach Darrell Guffey said. “They are a ranked team for a reason. They are big, fast and strong and when you combine those three things that causes trouble for us. I thought everything we did was right, but we just couldn’t quite match their intensity. It’s a hard pill to swallow.”
The Lady Braves played well early, but turnovers started to give Simon Kenton some momentum, which they used to take an 18-7 lead after the first quarter.
The Lady Pioneers extended their lead in the second quarter, out rebounding the Lady Braves on the offensive glass, coming away with several chances to score, and shutting down Grant County’s offense with an attacking defense.
Simon Kenton went on a nine-point run to start the second quarter before Tyanna Workman hit a free throw. Shayna Lockard scored off a missed shot before Dawn Plunkett attacked the basket to make it 27-12.
Candace Gorby and Lockard added two more scores before the half, as the Lady Braves trailed 38-16.
Both teams started the third quarter slowly before Simon Kenton scored with six minutes left in the quarter. The Lady Pioneers continued to build onto their lead before Lockard scored the Braves first points of the second half with two minutes left.
The Lady Braves ended the game on a run to make it 63-35.
“We struggled on the perimeter with our guards and forced turnovers which led to easy baskets for them,” Guffey said. “We have to get stronger and tougher this off-season. When we don’t take care of the ball or rebound, that spells doom for any team.”
The Lady Braves ended the season 13-14 after winning seven out their last nine regular season games. They showed improvement, which is what Guffey was looking for this season.
“I think we’ve gotten better and our players have fun,” Guffey said. “It’s always a little bit more fun to play when you make shots. Our goal was to continue to get better and we did that.”
Thoughts on seniors:
“They represent so much about what we want in our players,” Guffey said. “Each of our girls can learn from Shayna and Candace. They went as hard as they could with the best attitude they could possibly bring. Basketball is all about teaching young people to be successful. We’ll miss them dearly next year.”
Players to watch:
“We’ll return a lot,” Guffey said. “We’ll have four seniors next year and we’ll have a lot of experience coming back from a .500 regular season and that’s exciting. Our players have got to continue to work to improve this off-season. If we can do that, it will be a lot of fun next year.”