Marion County Edges Lady Eagles By Three
By David Sharp
Knox County (8-9) scored the first nine points of a January 30, non-conference varsity girls’ home game with Marion County. The Lady Eagles took the fifth ranked Lady Mustangs (13-2) to the final gun.
Tessa Ramer’s three point try for overtime rang off the back of the rim at the buzzer. Marion County took a 35-32 win.
Tessa Ramer tossed in a KCHS three ball with 3:46 to play in the first quarter for a 9-0 Lady Eagle lead. Knox County was able to keep the Lady Mustangs from establishing the offensive continuity they wanted.
Knox County led 9-4 after one quarter. Knox County missed several good scoring chances that could have put more pressure on the talented, but relatively young Marion County squad.
The Lady Mustangs countered with a 13-2 run to a 13-11 lead at the 3:08 juncture of the first half. Amanda Woods tied the game at 13 courtesy of a Becca Mallett assist.
Jessica Redd tossed in two MC free throws with 70 seconds to play in the second quarter. Stacey Leckbee fired in a 15 footer, knotting the score at 15 entering intermission.
Freshman guard Randi Lee Plunkett scored on three straight Marion County possessions after Lorrie Peters sank the first point of the second half at the free throw line. The Lady Mustangs led 21-16 with 5:10 remaining in the third quarter.
Senior Tessa Ramer pulled Knox County within a 23-19 deficit with a three ball at the 3:47 point of period three. Ramer sank two of three free throws with 1:56 showing on the clock, countering a Marion County bucket.
Stacey Leckbee and Tessa Ramer hooked up for a two pointer with 90 seconds remaining in the third quarter and a 25-23 score. Marion County sank a free throw and took a 26-23 edge to the fourth period.
Jessica Redd, a 6’1” freshman center put Marion County up 30-24 with a put back at the 4:01 mark of the fourth quarter. Tessa Ramer stepped up and capped a 6-2 run with a three ball and a 32-30 Lady Mustang edge with 2:50 to play in the game.
Kayla Bridgeman beat the KCHS press and scored a key Marion County bucket ten seconds later. Stacey Leckbee fed Tessa Ramer for a KCHS field goal with 1:12 to play in the game. Marion County led 34-32.
The teams battled down the stretch. Marion County sank one of two free throws with 19 seconds to play for a 35-32 lead. Knox County missed a three pointer to tie with nine seconds to play in the game.
The Lady Eagles got the ball back. A well set three pointer rang off the back of the rim at the buzzer. Marion County escaped overtime and a possible upset by the 35-32 final score.
Knox County (8-9) won the battle of the boards by a 25-22 margin. Marion County had a 9-8 edge in steals. Knox County turned the ball over 15 times to 16 for their guests. Marion County had an unofficial 9-3 edge in assists.
“We knew what we were headed for when we came here,” said Marion County coach Mike Johnson. “John Weaver had them prepared and we knew they would be up. I felt like we would get back in the game after their 9-0 run. We got our spirits up and after that it was a dog fight.”
“Their kids played tough basketball. This is a hard place to win,” said Johnson. “They tried to take Jordan (Johnson), Morgan (Spratt) and Jessica Redd out of it. I thought they did a great job of it. Ranay Sharpe scored eight points in the first half and Randi Lee Plunkett scored three buckets in a row in the third quarter.”
“They came in ready. They wanted to beat us,” said Coach Johnson. “They just about put it on us. I felt we came out flat on offense. They came out pumping on offense. They hit shots. I didn’t think our defense was bad.”
Randi Lee Plunkett led Marion County with 12 points and four assists. Three year starter Ranay Sharpe displayed her offensive skills with ten Mustang points. Knox County held standout guards Jordan Johnson and Morgan Spratt scoreless. Sprat had four steals.
Jessica Redd led the area in scoring early in the season. Redd scored eight points with eight Marion County rebounds.
“We wanted to keep the ball out of the middle and not let Jessica Redd beat us,” said KCHS coach John Weaver. ‘Their perimeter players can score. We brought it on one end of the floor for 32 minutes and we didn’t on the other end. We had some people step up and make shots. They showed why they are so good in the last minute.”
“I thought we worked hard, we have just got to find a way to put the ball in the hole,” said Coach Weaver.
Knox County sank five of nine free throws for 56%. Marion County went 6-14 for 43% at the charity stripe. The Lady Mustangs led 13-9 in made field goals.
Tessa Ramer fired in a game high 19 Knox County points with two steals, Lorrie Peters scored six points with six rebounds. Amanda Woods scored four points with six boards. Stacey Leckbee scored two points, two rebounds and two assists. Myra Parrish added one KCHS point.