Lady Tigers Pull Out Season Opening Win

Lady Tigers Pull Out

Season Opening Win

By David Sharp

   Marion County overcame a 12-4 Brashear lead with a 21-13 second half surge, threatening to spoil the Lady Tigers’ varsity home opener. Jessi Hill scored eight of her team leading 12 points in the final 3:12 lifting Brashear to a 37-31 win. Hailee Kelsey tallied 11 points. Emily Ladwig and Christina Scudder scored seven Brashear points each.

   Both teams started off with a somewhat predictable sluggish nature. Marion County and Brashear were hit hard by graduation. The ball fluttered around in the absence of 2006-07 point guards Maggie Hastings and Kimberly Elsea.

   Brashear seemed to do a better job of playmaking most of the night. The Lady Tigers’ ability to find ways to get the job done probably was the difference in the outcome.

   The Lady Tigers did a good job of getting the basketball inside to their tall front line. Marion County wound up turning the ball over 30 times on the night. Hailee Kelsey scored half of the Lady Tigers’ 12 first quarter points.

   Christina Scudder got good position on Marion County post player Ranay Sharpe and put the Lady Tigers up by a 12-4 margin with 17 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

   Kelsey Tuley pulled Marion County (0-1) within a 12-7 deficit with a long field goal at the 6:35 mark of the second quarter. Scudder struck again at the 4:54 mark of period two for a 17-7 Tiger edge.

   Marion County threw an effective full court press at the Lady Tigers. Brashear was in the free throw bonus the last 4:44 of the first half. Both teams were whistled for numerous fouls. Brashear was not able to take full advantage of their opportunity, making only three of nine second quarter free throws.

   Emily Ladwig and Christina Scudder combined for Brashear’s three charity tosses around the 1:30 juncture of the second quarter. Ladwig added another bucket with 72 seconds to play in the first half for a 22-10 BHS lead.

   Jessi Hill stole the basketball and scored with 17 seconds to play in period two for a seemingly comfortable 24-10 halftime lead. The Lady Mustangs had other ideas.

   Brashear led by as many as 14 points early in the third quarter. Marion County began finding their offensive rhythm.  The Lady Tigers appeared unsure how to handle the situation. Marion County roared back with an 8-2 third quarter run, pulling within a 26-18 deficit going into the final eight minutes of the contest.

   Both teams found themselves in foul trouble. Hailee Kelsey and Christina Scudder were saddled with four fouls each entering the fourth quarter. Marion County guard Kayla Tuley fouled out just 36 seconds into the period.

   Four Lady Mustangs finished the game with three or more fouls. Brashear faced the same situation. Marion County came out with a purpose and dominated the first minute of the fourth quarter.

   Marion County was in the one and one bonus most of the fourth quarter. Ranay Sharpe and Jenny Mitchell converted free throw chances. Sharpe tied the game with a pair of free throws with 6:21 showing on the fourth quarter clock.

   Kayla Bridgman tossed in a Lady Mustang free throw, putting Marion County on top of a 27-26 score with 5:58 to play in the game. Ranay Sharpe scored an inside bucket, capping a run of 13 unanswered points for a 29-26 Mustang lead with 5:35 remaining on the clock.

   “We didn’t handle the third quarter very well,” said Lady Tiger guard Jessi Hill. “We were a little shaky. We decided we were going to take control,” said Hill. “We were able to get things going our way. Everybody stepped up.”

   The teams battled defensively until Hailee Kelsey got to the free throw line with 3:21 showing on the clock. Kelsey put both shots down, trimming the deficit to 29-28. Jessi Hill closed on an errant pass, stole the basketball and scored nine seconds later, putting Brashear back in the lead at 30-29.

   “Their team stepped up late,” said Marion County coach Mike Johnson. “They know how to win close games. That is a credit to Coach (Sara) Williams. “We are young. I thought we put pressure on the ball defensively. We are going to have to develop offensively as the season goes on.”

   “I was disappointed in the loss, but I was not disappointed in the effort I saw from our team,” said Johnson. “We showed a lot of heart. These girls are not afraid of hard work. We had a chance to win the game but Brashear stepped up and took it.”

   Marion County guard Kayla Bridgman nailed 15 footer, pulling the Lady Mustangs back within a 32-31 score with only 1:13 to go. Jessi Hill sank four key free throws with 46 and then 20 seconds in regulation time. Brashear held a 36-31 edge.

   Christina Scudder stole the ball and sank a Brashear free throw with 14 seconds on the clock for a 37-31 lead. Marion County turned the ball over. Brashear was able to run out the remaining time and celebrated their first high school victory of the 2007-08 season.

   Ranay Sharpe led all scorers with 16 Marion County points. Sharpe sank ten of 14 free throws on the night. Marion County was limited to nine field goals and converted 13 of 23 team free throws.

   Brashear buried seven of their eight fourth quarter free throws. The Lady Tigers went 10-19 from the charity stripe on the night. Hailee Kelsey tossed in a second quarter three ball. Brashear put in 12 field goals.

   “We got out of our game in the third quarter,” said Lady Tiger coach Sara Williams. “We need to learn to play no matter what quarter it is. Jessi Hill stepped up and made nice plays tonight. We are all going to have to score and take pressure off whoever teams want to focus on.”

   “I have a young team,” said Coach Williams. “We have three seniors, but we have several people that haven’t played much before. For the first time tonight I thought we did OK.”