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Lady Braves shake off rust in season opener

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By Ryan Naus

After the first quarter of the season, the Grant County girls’ basketball team found themselves without any points.

While shaking off first game jitters, the Lady Braves started slowly, trailing Owen County 10-0 after the first quarter.

While they found offense in the final three quarters, they were unable to close the gap, falling 51-41 on Nov. 30.

“I thought we played a good team that had more experience than we did,” coach Darrell Guffey said. “We settled down after the first quarter, but with an opportunity to make some things happen, we didn’t take the game away from them.”

The Lady Braves turned the ball over often in the first quarter and missed eight free throws contributing to their scoreless quarter.

In the second quarter, freshman Billie Hearn scored on an inbounds play to help settle the team. Grant County outscored the Lady Rebels 17-13 to trail 23-17 at the half.

The teams started the third quarter slowly, but Owen County reeled off five straight points before sophomore Morgan McClure scored as Grant County went on a six-point run of their own to cut the Lady Rebels lead to five points.

After sophomore Erica Stith scored, Hearn blocked a shot on defense, leading to a score by senior Dawn Plunkett to make it 30-27. Owen County answered with a three pointer before the buzzer, which was a “dagger in our kid’s hearts”, said Guffey.

The Lady Braves continued to play Owen County evenly in the beginning of the fourth quarter, before the Lady Rebels took control of the game late for the win.

While the Lady Braves came away with a loss, they were proud to play tough and compete against a rival.

“Right now, we don’t have as much experience, but that will come,” Guffey said. “We had jitters all night long. Our goal is to hold people to 40 points in a game and our defense was excellent tonight. Our defense gave us a chance to make some runs and make some plays.”

“We put out a good effort and our focus this week has been on defense,” senior Amber Cope said. “We have to come out ready to play and keep our focus. It doesn’t feel like a loss to me, because I feel like we played to our potential. There’s room to get better and we need to build off this first game to get better.”

The Lady Braves looked back at their scoreless first quarter and hope to learn from this experience for the rest of the season.

“We had enough to get after them, but we didn’t have enough to take it from them,” Plunkett said. “Coach always says there is this hump that we’ve got to get over and we’ve got to push to finish the game. We played even with them other than the first quarter. I think we’ll get them next time and we’ll have to learn to be ready to play from the get-go.”

The Lady Braves continue their season by traveling to play Simon Kenton, the two-time reigning region champions, on Dec. 4.

“There’s no time to rest,” Guffey said. “We’re going to see exactly where we’re at early in the year and we’re going to continue working to get better.”