Knox County Girls Win Third Place At North Shelby

Knox County
Girls Win Third
Place At North Shelby

By David Sharp

Fifth seeded Knox County turned around a
4-1 first quarter deficit with a five point spurt and went on to a 51-32 win
over host North Shelby in the girls’ third place game of the 24th
Annual North Shelby Tournament.

Taylor Lincoln sank two momentum swinging
three balls, the first with 1:52 to play in the opening period. Knox County
answered Ashley Bichsel’s bucket for a 9-8 lead.

The Lady Eagles may have played too much
one on one basketball during a lack luster first half. North Shelby (4-10)
played hard in the opening quarter. The Lady Eagles possibly wore the smaller
Lady Raiders down in the second half.

Both teams turned the ball over too many
times in the first half. Knox County led 11-10 at the first break. Sarah Dooley
sank a free throw for a 21-14 Lady Eagle edge with three minutes remaining in
the first half.

North Shelby scored the final four points
of the quarter. Ashley Bichsel made the Lady Eagles pay for apparently not
running out their offensive sets with a free throw at the 1:03 mark of the
second quarter for a 21-18 Knox County halftime lead.

Knox County came out of the dressing room
with more energy than displayed at times in the first half. The Lady Eagles scored the first five points
of the third quarter.

Brianna Cochenour sank a North Shelby home
run ball pulling the Lady Raiders back within a 26-21 score with 5:50 remaining
in the period. Knox County sank their free throws, played much better team
defense in the second half.

The Lady Eagles displayed patience on
offense, running their motion sets for good shots. Kelsey Cahalan buried a
three ball for a 35-22 Knox County lead with 2:42 to play in the third quarter.

Knox County may have put the game on ice
with play making in the last moments of the third period. Hannah Strange answered
Brianna Cochenour’s free throw with a leaning field goal in the last 34
seconds.

Taylor Lincoln powered between two
defenders for a three ball at the buzzer. Knox County led 40-26 at the three
quarter pole. North Shelby was without point guard Rachel Echternacht most of
the second quarter due to foul trouble.

Knox County reeled off a 19-7 third quarter
run. The Lady Eagles played like the two time defending conference champions
they are in the fourth quarter.

The Lady Eagles ran the court early in the
final quarter and finished. Knox County defended well in the half court,
pushing North Shelby out to the perimeter.

Knox County did not allow many second
shots in the second half. The Lady Eagles pulled down 35 rebounds. Kathleen
Hinkle and Hannah Strange led the way with six boards each. The Knox County
total would have been much higher had the Lady Eagles boxed out in the first
half.

McKaiya Miller gave the Lady Eagles a 46-32
lead with three minutes to play in the game. North Shelby pulled within a 43-31
score with 4:20 remaining. Hannah Strange scored off a fast break after Brianna
Cochenour sank a three ball on the other end.

Kathleen Hinkle closed the book with two
free throws at the 41 second mark. Lady Eagle fans saw their JV finish the
game. Knox County earned third place overall with the 51-32 victory.

Hannah Strange scored a game high 19 Knox
County points. Devin Gudehus seemed to light a fire under her team with several
diving plays. “We played help side defense in the post tonight,” Devin Gudehus
said. “(Ron Lebel) told us at halftime to come out with another level of
intensity,”

“We have won a couple of games after that
stretch where we couldn’t seem to win,” Devin Gudehus said. “I think we are
finally gelling together as a team. We are doing a lot better now.”

The Lady Eagles lost three conference games
by a total of six points just before the Christmas break. Knox County won two
games and a trophy. The North Shelby Tournament might be the turning point in
what is now a 4-9 overall record season.

Two of those nine losses are at the hands
of defending state champion Marion County. Devin Gudehus scored eight Knox
County points against North Shelby. Kathleen Hinkle was 4-4 at the free throw
line and finished with six points. North Shelby packed the lane most of the
night defensively.

Taylor Lincoln scored six KCHS points.
Lincoln rebounded well and possibly had her best all around game in a Lady
Eagle uniform. Kelsey Cahalan scored four points.

McKaiya Miller scored five and Sarah Dooley
added three Lady Eagle points. Knox County was 18 of 31 from the free throw
line. The Lady Raiders sank seven of 13 free throws.

Knox County limited North Shelby to eight
made field goals defensively. Each team tossed in three home run balls. The
Lady Eagles scored 24 points from the field.

Brianna Cochenour led the Lady Raiders with
13 points. Elizabeth Linberger was next in line with seven points. Knox County
hosts North Shelby in a January 24 Tri-Rivers Conference doubleheader.

“One of our biggest challenges was when our
point guard Rachel Echternacht got her fourth foul early in the second half,”
North Shelby coach Joshlin Yoder said.

“She handles the ball 95% of the time. We
asked some kids to do some things they just weren’t comfortable doing against a
pressure defense like that,” Coach Yoder said. “The conference games Tuesday
should be pretty exciting. The girls were disappointed with how they played in
the second half.”

“There’s definitely some incentive for them
to be fired up when they come out Tuesday. We are looking to show we are a
better team than we showed in the second half tonight.”

“I
didn’t think our girls played too badly in the first half,” Knox County coach
Ron Lebel said. “Their guards did a good job of controlling the game. We may
have wore them down in the first half and it was a little easier in the second
half.”

“We took care of the ball better in the
second half. I thought we rebounded better in the second half. Those are things
we have struggled with all year,” Ron Lebel said.

“We made a few shots and got the lead. They
got desperate at the end and started fouling. We hit some free throws and extended
the lead. We are getting there,” Coach Lebel said.

“We are playing better. We are running our
offense better. We are taking care of the ball better.” Knox County had nine
steals and 22 turnovers. “We have worked on our offense. It’s new (to the Lady
Eagles.) It wasn’t apparent what we were running then.”

Knox County runs a motion offense that
somewhat relies on reading defenses. “Our offense is much harder to guard than
just running set plays,” Ron Lebel said. “We are starting to play our best
basketball now. I still think we are going to be a pretty scary team to
somebody in districts.”