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Lady Raiders’ All A tourney run ends in Elite Eight

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By Dave Taylor

Trimble County’s exciting run in the Touchstone Energy All A Classic tournament came to a disappointing end with a 65-48 second round loss to Newport Central Catholic on Friday.

Friday’s game at the Frankfort Convention Center marked only the second time that a basketball team from Trimble County High School had reached the Elite Eight in any state tournament in the school’s history, the last time being in 1992 when Trimble fell in the quarterfinal round to eventual All A state champion Cumberland by a 56-47 score. Jessica Peniston Wilcoxson, current Assistant Superintendent of Trimble County Schools, was named to the state All A All Tournament Team from Trimble that year.

Trimble fell behind early in Friday’s outing and trailed by 9 at 12-3 with 3:52 to go in the first quarter but battled back to trail by 2 on a field goal by Paige Black with 1:09 left in the period.

Newport’s Lady Thoroughbreds held a 16-13 lead as the quarter drew to a close. Another basket by Paige to begin the second quarter brought the Lady Raiders within a point at 16-15 with 7:37 remaining to play in the first half but that’s as close as Trimble would come the rest of the way.

Newport ran out to an 11-point halftime advantage, 36-25, and fronted by as many as 13 in the third quarter before the Lady Raiders came fighting back to within 7—44-37—at the horn sounding the end of the third quarter. Although they were playing catch up during most of the game the Lady Raiders were still within reach with four minutes remaining to play, trailing by six points at 50-44.

Newport Central Catholic outscored Trimble 21-11 over the final eight minutes on the strength of converting 13 of 16 free throw attempts during the period.

“We tried to take it possession by possession and cut our way back into it,” Trimble Head Coach Kerrie Stewart said. “We’d miss a shot or have a turnover and they would capitalize on it. The girls fought hard and stayed with them. The final score is certainly deceiving as to what the game actually was.”

The Thoroughbreds were only whistled for 12 personal fouls in the game while Trimble committed 22 fouls. That resulted in Newport going to the charity stripe 35 times in the game to Trimble’s 10. Trimble converted 7 of 10 free tosses compared Newport’s 26 of 35 effort—a difference of 19 points.

Newport Head Coach George Stoll said his team had to battle strong to try to keep Trimble’s large crowd out of the equation. “They’ve got a big crowd here,” he said. “They (the crowd) were getting into it. They were getting fired up.”

Lady Thoroughbreds Alexis Mayes and Michaela Ware said following the game that they had expected a difficult game from Trimble after seeing the Lady Raiders take down tournament favorite Murray in Wednesday’s opening round.

“We came and watched them play (Wednesday) so we could see what they did and how they play,” Mayes, a junior forward said.

Ware, a junior guard, said, “We knew they were a good team because Murray was obviously good.”

Paige Black led Trimble’s offensive output with 18 points. Jessie Dunlap and Kaylee Clifford each added eight points while Shelbe Black and Mila Consley each chipped in seven points to complete the scoring for the Lady Raiders.

The Lady Thoroughbreds won the battle of the boards with 34 rebounds to Trimble’s 25. Newport had 15 offensive rebounds that contributed to 10 second effort points.

“We need to work a lot more on the boards,” Paige Black said. “They killed us on the boards and that’s been our weakness, blocking out and rebounding. We will definitely take this and learn from it but it’s been a really great experience and you can’t take that away from us. We had a great time.”

“I don’t regret anything that we did,” Lady Raider guard Jessie Dunlap said. “The girls are just so great. We have young ones and we have old ones but we’re all family, big or small, old or young. We all click together. It’s so much fun to go out there and play with them.”

Trimble managed 14 steals to Newport’s 17 during the game. The Lady Thoroughbreds turned the ball over 22 times to Trimble’s 21.

“Limiting our turnovers is something we take pride in but we didn’t do a good job of it today,” Newport’s coach said. “This is the first turnover battle that we’ve lost this year.”

Newport Central Catholic, who had been the tournament runnerup the two previous years, was upended, 71-55, by Danville in semifinal action Saturday. Glasgow topped Owensboro Catholic in Saturday’s other semifinal game by a 54-39 score and went on to defeat Danville 53-43 to claim the All A Classic championship on Sunday.

Trimble, now 13-6 on the season, was to have played District opponent South Oldham Monday at home but snowfall cancelled classes at both schools Monday. The game was rescheduled for Tuesday night. Results were not available by press time. The Lady Raiders face another District rival when they entertain North Oldham tomorrow night.

“They represented themselves and our community really well down here in Frankfort,” Stewart said of the Lady Raiders. “I think we’re better than any Oldham County school in our district this year. I’m going to say that out loud and proud and they can take that for whatever it’s worth. We’re going to going to go in there and cut down another set of nets. These ladies are an exceptional group and play so well together. They’ve got every opportunity to continue to perform and do well. I think we can win every game we have remaining.”