Showdown in New Castle

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By Tommie Kendall

Fittingly, Henry County senior Jean-Anne Moore gave the Henry County Ladycats just the spark they needed to distance themselves from Eminence in Friday's showdown against the visiting Lady Warriors.

Moore, the only senior for Henry, scored 12 points, pulled down numerous rebounds and provided an inside presence, which allowed the Ladycats to come away with a 69-16 win on Senior Night. It was the most points Henry had scored all season, which came shortly after Moore was congratulated before her final home game.

"I thought, overall, we were very focused," Henry coach Todd Gilley said. "We concentrated on the things we needed to do, and didn't get caught up in the hoopla of playing our cross-town rivals. We were very pleased with our effort."

Eminence, playing without key player Candace Wells, who had a season-ending ankle injury a week before, had just two players score during the lopsided contest. Freshman Rachel Raisor scored 12 points and senior Kelli Hawkins finished with four.

Kelsey Mings, who played most of the first half and just three minutes in the second, led Henry with a game-high 15 points, while Moore chipped in 12 to help lead the way.

Henry (8-16, 5-11 8th Region) used a 15-2 opening-quarter spurt to pull away from the Lady Warriors. Midway through the first eight-minute stretch, Mings scored five points within five seconds when she converted on a three-point play, stole the inbounds pass and scored on a layup. Jessica Booher then picked off an Eminence pass and scored on a layup, Moore had a put-back basket and Taylor Clark swished a three-pointer to stretch the Cat's advantage.

Eminence (3-20, 0-10) took a lead early on when Raisor knocked down a jumper to put the lady Warriors up 2-1, but it was short lived as the Ladycats went ahead and never looked back. The Cats were in front 15-2 after the first quarter, 34-9 after the second and 56-13 after the third before cruising in for the 43-point victory.

Eminence's two-person bench was running dry late in the game, while Henry was having no problems with its 10-person bench, running players in and out freely.

"It was a good opportunity to get some players playing time," Gilley said. "I was proud of our effort."

Henry also got the chance to see some of its future players shine as eighth-grader Allison Vaughn came off the bench during the second quarter and stole the ball, scored on a wide-open layup and later knocked down a three with just a few seconds remaining until the break.

Clark and Allison Taylor, a freshman and sophomore, swished two three-pointers apiece.

The only points Eminence managed to score during the final 12 minutes were from a Raisor three-pointer with 4:15 left in the final quarter.

Meanwhile, Henry controlled its emotions and came away with the win.

"You never know how a team is going to react with Senior Night," Gilley said. "Our kids were concentrating on making Jean-Anne's last home game special."

E-mail us about this story at sports@hclocal.com.