Lawrence County Advocate

Late Bucket Sinks Lady Wildcats in 8-AAA SemisFree Access

Will Meet Marshall County in 8-AAA Consolation Game

Lawrence County used a slow and steady rally to take an eventual late fourth-quarter lead Friday night in its District 8-AAA semifinal versus Central Magnet.

But just as LCHS completed its late comeback, Central Magnet quickly stormed back in front for a 41-39 victory at Marshall County High School.

Lady Wildcat guard Sophie Cole surveys her offensive options in the first half of Friday’s District 8-AAA tournament semifinal versus Central Magnet. Wade Neely / Main Street Media

In a game that featured nine lead changes, including two in the game’s final 40 seconds, it appeared as if a fourth-quarter surge would be enough to put the Lady Wildcats (16-12, 7-3) ahead for good.

Rallying from as many as seven down late in the third, LCHS stormed all the way back and took a 39-38 lead with 36 seconds to go on two free throws from Jacie Scott.

The Lady Wildcats looked to clamp down defensively, but fouled Central Magnet standout Addison Melton with 26 seconds to play. But Melton missed both free throws and it appeared as if the Lady Wildcats were destined for Monday’s championship game.

But as Melton’s second free throw rolled off the iron, rebounding woes popped up again for LCHS when Tiger forward Madisen Stanley slipped in for a rebound and a new possession.

With the teams scrambling, Stanley took matters into her own hands and fired up an off-balance jumper that somehow swished home with just 21 seconds to play.

Lady Wildcat guard Cami Pigg works for position in the paint during Friday’s semifinal loss to Central Magnet. Wade Neely / Main Street Media

The Lady Wildcats quickly pushed up the court, but a shot from the corner fell shy and into the arms of Melton.

After just missing her previous two attempts, Central Magnet’s superstar and AAA Miss Basketball finalist calmly drained the first, but missed the second to give LCHS one last chance to tie.

Sadie Grace Cole launched a half court heave that had the right line, but not the distance as Central Magnet escaped with the two-point victory.

Rebounding struggles tormented the Lady Wildcats all night, but sharp shooting and solid defense kept them in the game — and even ahead early.

Central Magnet led 15-12 after a back-and-forth first quarter, but LCHS pulled ahead 21-19 at the break as the game took on a more defensive and physical tone.

The third quarter saw the Tigers use their size to their advantage as they crashed the boards and used the second-chance opportunities to build their lead to as many as seven at 34-27 with just over a minute to play in the quarter.

LCHS trimmed the deficit to just five at the end of the third thanks to a late leaner from freshman Ryann Hughes, setting the stage for the Lady Wildcat fourth-quarter comeback.

LCHS freshman Ryann Hughes draws contact at the rim in the first quarter of Friday’s contest. Wade Neely / Main Street Media

Laney Kate King led the Lady Wildcats with 13 points — nine of which came in the second quarter. King caught fire from distance in the second stanza, swishing home three triples and accounting for all nine of the LCHS scoring in the frame.

Scott ended the night with nine points, including five free throws on six attempts in the fourth quarter.

Kabry Tinin scored the other five points in the final quarter for LCHS and ended the night with six.

Hughes finished with four points. Sophie Cole added three. Sadie Grace Cole and Cami Pigg ended with two each.

Melton led the Tigers (21-9) with 13 points. Stanley ended with 12. Julia Stuible had a big third quarter as Central Magnet built its lead, scoring eight of her 10 in the frame.

The loss sends the Lady Wildcats to Monday’s 8-AAA consolation game.

LCHS will meet No. 4 seed Marshall County, which fell 48-36 to top-seeded Tullahoma in Friday’s second semifinal. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.

Lawrence County will travel to a District 9-AAA team for the first round of the Region 4-AAA tournament. The matchup was not available at press time. The first round Region 4-AAA games will be played Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. Check and the Lawrence County Advocate Facebook page for updated information.