The Henry County lady Cats traveled to Grant County on March 5 to take on the Oldham County Lady Colonels in the first round of the 8th Region basketball tournament and lost 63-32.
The Lady Cats got off to a slow start, falling behind 6-1 with Cheyenne Clark providing the only point in the first four minutes of the game. But the Lady Cats’ strong defense kept them close until Kim Barmore scored on an inside move and was fouled. Her three-point play made it 6-4 with 3:54 left in the first period.
Oldham County hit a 3-pointer just 24 seconds later that started a 13-2 run to give them a 19-6 lead after one period of play.
The Lady Cats defense stiffened again in the second period as they allowed the Lady Colonels just seven points in the entire quarter. But the Lady Cats continued to struggle offensively, scoring only six points themselves to trail 26-12 at halftime.
“I thought the first half, defensively, we did what we wanted to do,” Coach Todd Gilley said. “To Oldham’s credit they had some kids step up that don’t usually score. We held their all-region player, Ashley McMurtry, to four points in the first half.
“Offensively we didn’t get it done in the first half. I thought we made the right passes and we saw the floor well. We did the right things but we didn’t put the ball in the hole.”
In the third quarter McMurtry scored the Lady Colonels first nine points on 3-pointers while Henry County managed only two points on a put back by Colleen Coomes. McMurtry then drove for a layup and was fouled. She completed the three-point play with a free throw which extended her personal run to 12 points and made the score 38-14.
After McMurtry’s scorching start the Lady Cats played evenly with the Lady Colonels for the rest of the quarter but the damage was done. Oldham County led 50-24 going into the final period.
“In the third quarter McMurtry showed why she is an all-region player,” Gilley said. “And we did not do a good job of finding her. After that run, we had to do things that were not conducive to us being successful because we had to try to get back in the game.”
The Lady Colonels outscored the Lady Cats 13-8 in the final period to make the final margin 31 points.
Gilley chose to focus on the positives after the game in a season that started promisingly but hit some road bumps after junior center Megan Payton went down with a knee injury.
“I thought Cheyenne Clark played as good as she has played in weeks in the first half,” Gilley said. She was getting people open for shots. We just weren’t hitting them.
“I thought Kim Barmore played well again and she really came on for us at the end of the season.
“I thought Sophie Hughes did a very good job on McMurtry when she was guarding her,” Gilley continued. “And I thought that everyone on the team played very hard.”
Gilley wrapped up his comments with a tribute to a team that he clearly enjoyed coaching.
“I want to compliment our team, especially our seniors, on how hard they played and how coachable they have been,” he said. “I thought this group of seniors got a lot out of what they had and improved as much as any group we’ve ever had.
“This year’s group of girls made it to where the coaches looked forward to coming to practice every day.”