Lady Braves’ get hard fought win over Newport

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By Matt Birkholtz

The game looked more like a cage match than a basketball game as the Lady Braves defeated the Newport 39-23 Dec. 27 in their first game of the Grant County Invitational.

Sophomore forward Billie Hearn led the way for the Lady Braves (2-6) scoring 16 points. Even though she was the leading scorer, Hearn expressed how she likes to contribute more than just scoring.

“I like sharing the ball,” she said. “I am a scorer and a passer too. I will pass when I am not open, but when I see an open lane I am going to go for it.”

For Lady Braves’ coach Darrell Guffey the game was much closer than he was wanting it to be.

After taking an early 16-0 lead over Newport (2-6), the rest of the game was a battle that saw some heated moments between Lady Braves’ players and Lady Cats.

It was something that coach Guffey addressed after the game.

“We just talked about how good teams take care of business,” he said. “If we put Newport away early, then those heated moments don’t happen. Instead we let Newport hang around and emotions started taking over. A 16-0 start has got to be a 25-30 point win.”

One of those heated moments in the game came late in the fourth quarter when junior forward Morgan McClure went up for the shot and was fouled hard by Newport junior forward Jaimie Harrison.

“I think we could have played the game without a lot of the aggressiveness,” McClure said. “If we could have executed more on the floor, but I think the team held their composure even though we were all ready to fight.”

With four games in four days, it will be an adjustment for the young Lady Braves, but the comfort of being on their home court is helping.

“This was only our second home game,” Guffey said. “We have traveled on the road a lot up to this point.”

A bright spot for the Lady Braves with a wrist injury to eighth grade point guard Macy Wright has been the strong play from junior guard Erica Stith. Stith said that playing in a familiar position in the past is helping her.

“I like playing the position,” she said. “I grew up playing at point guard, so it is more comfortable for me to play.”

How the Lady Braves fare in their first three games of the Grant County Invitational will determine when and whom they will be facing on Dec. 30.

After the tournament, the Lady Braves will face Simon Kenton Jan. 7 in Independence. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. In their last meeting on Dec. 3, the Lady Pioneers defeated Grant County 80-37.