The Henry County Lady Cats’ senior night looked like it was going to be a great one but the Spencer County Lady Bears had other ideas. The two teams squared off in New Castle on Feb. 19 in a game that had to be rescheduled because of winter weather.
The Lady Cats scored the first ten points of the game and led 15-3 with 3:10 left in the opening period. Ashton Pennington had nine of the first 10 points on three 3-pointers in the first 2:10 of the game.
“I loved our intensity to start the game,” Coach Todd Gilley said.
Spencer County finally got their offense going at that point and scored five of the last six points of the quarter to trail 16-8 going into the second period.
The Lady Bears continued to gradually pull closer throughout the second period while Henry County cooled off. Spencer County tied the score on two free throws with 37 seconds to go. At halftime the Lady Cats were clinging to a two-point lead thanks to a runner by Cheyenne Clark with 2 seconds left in the half.
“We made some silly fouls that put us in bad situations in the second quarter,” Gilley said.
Henry County started the third period with another run as they scored the first seven points. Kim Barmore scored on a put back just 18 seconds into the period. Haley Bramblett followed with a 12-footer at 7:10 before a long scoring drought for both teams was broken by a free throw by Cheyenne Clark to make it 32-25. Spencer County called a timeout at 5:31 to try and break the Lady Cats’ momentum, but Clark got a steal and scored on a layup to make it 34-25 with 4:50 left.
Spencer County finally got going and hit a 3-pointer just 14 seconds later. The Lady Bears got two free throws at 4:07 to pull within four points. From there the teams traded baskets the rest of the way and Henry County led 38-34 heading into the final period.
“We did allow them to come back and tie the score but then we got seven points to start the third and I thought we were over the hump,” Gilley said.
The Lady Cats scored the first four points of the fourth period to stretch the lead back to eight points with 6:26 left in the game. But Spencer County hit a 3-pointer to bring the margin back to five points.
Bramblett hit a jumper from just inside the 3-point arc to make it 44-37 with 5:26 left but the Lady Cats would score just three points the rest of the way. Meanwhile the Lady Bears gradually chipped away and finally tied the score at 46 with 29 seconds to play.
With 7.7 seconds to go the Lady Bears’ Mackenzie Myers, who led all scorers with 23 points, hit two free throws to give her team their first lead of the game at 48-46.
The Lady Cats called timeout and set up a final play. Kim Barmore took a pass from Colleen Coomes as she streaked down the sideline. Barmore was fouled as she drove to the basket. She stepped to the line for the one-and-one bonus and hit the first free throw to make it 48-47. Her second attempt was short but Barmore hustled into the lane to follow her own shot and nearly came up with the rebound. The Lady Bears managed to tip the ball away and came up with the loose ball as time ran out.
“We did not handle, mentally, the last four minutes of the game very well,” Gilley said. “We need to do a better job of teaching how to handle those situations.”
The Lady Cats finished the regular season with an 11-13 record while Spencer County improved to 7-21.
Trimble County 61 HCHS 47
The Lady Cats traveled to Bedford on Feb. 18 to take on the tough Trimble County Raiders and fell behind early due to the Raiders’ smothering full-court pressure. At the end of the first period Trimble County led 23-4.
“We got off to a slow start and had to battle back,” Gilley said. “We continued to battle from the second period on but just dug too big a hole.”
The Lady Cats were outscored 13-12 in the second period and trailed 36-16 at halftime.
Henry County played much better in the third period and outscored the Raiders 14-10 to cut the lead to 16 heading into the final period.
The Lady Cats managed to cut into the lead a little more but it was too little, too late as the Raiders held on for the fourteen-point win.
“Trimble County shot the ball extremely well,” Gilley said. “We didn’t handle their pressure defense very well in the first quarter and that was really the story of the game. We did shoot well from the free throw line. We were 20 of 26.
“We battled the whole game despite getting down early and I’m proud of them for that.”