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Girls lose to Australians 65-36

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By John Shindlebower

The Spencer County Lady Bears didn’t catch many breaks last week, but they’ll get one this week as they get a week off following four tough games in a six-day span that ended with a disappointing 65-36 loss to an Australian traveling team Friday night.

The girls looked ready to compete in the early going, with senior Kenisha Marshall powering inside for eight first quarter points as they battled to a 17-17 tie at the end of the first frame.

But the visitors from down under outscored the home team 16-3 in the second quarter to take a commanding 33-20 lead at the break. The Lady Wolves stepped up their pressure and forced numerous turnovers, as the Lady Bears were unable to hit the shots required to keep the score close.

The third quarter proved to be much of the same as the visitors continued to pad their lead and the Lady Bears struggled to hit shots. For the game, the girls hit just 11 of 51 shots and had 24 turnovers.

One positive was that by early in the final quarter, most of Spencer County’s starters were on the bench, allowing for some valuable playing time from some of the reserves. The backups actually came in and played with a lot of energy as the Australians kept their press going the entire game.

Marshall led the way with 14 points and 12 rebounds on the night for Spencer County. Gross added six points and 11 rebounds and Shelby Pfeiffer chipped in with five. McKenna Pfeiffer and Jayme Thomas each added four points. McKenzie Myers and McKenzie Smith each scored two on the night and Vicky Kuiper added a free throw for one point.

“They were fast, focused and had some good scorers,” said Spencer County Coach Daniel Cox about the Australian team, however he said their press wasn’t anything his players hadn’t seen before.

The problem however, may have been how much his girls had seen of it in recent days.

“I really feel that the girls were simply exhausted after the four game stretch in six days.” That stretch included an emotional game on Monday that saw the Lady Bears lose a 51-50 decision to Shelby County on a controversial ending.

However, there was little time to ponder that finish as the girls were back in action Thursday to host North Bullitt.

Spencer County was able get out to an early lead in the first quarter, holding a 15-11 advantage after one period, but the visiting Lady Eagles charged back in the second as Spencer County’s offense again suffered through a drought. North Bullitt surged ahead and led 25-22 at the break.

In the third quarter, Chelsea Gross scored on three baskets inside with Marshall and Shelby Pfeiffer chipping in to help the Lady Bears overcome the deficit and take a 41-36 lead into the final quarter.

Following an injury to Marshall, North Bullitt was able to close the gap to one at 46-45 with under a minute remaining. Sydney Spencer missed the front end of a one-and-one, but made up for it with a defensive steal. Gross and Junior Jayme Thomas each hit one free throw on separate fouls to push the margin to three, and North Bullitt was unable to get a game-tying shot off before the clock expired.

Cox called the contest “a little sloppy” but said it would have been easy for the girls to have a let down after the Shelby game. “They showed great heart beating North Bullitt and I’m very proud of them.”

For the game, Shelby Pfeiffer led the way with 14 points and 4 rebounds while Gross added 12 points and seven rebounds. Marshall had a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds with Spencer chipping in seven points, Thomas adding 3 points and Ashley Wiley dished out four assists.

Now comes a break, and Cox said it’s needed.

“It couldn’t come at a better time,” he said. “It will give us time to refocus, work on some fundamentals and get ready for the home stretch. I believe they will be ready for tournament time.”