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With well over a month left remaining in their season, the Spencer County Lady Bears equaled their total win amount from last season with a 57-50 win over a traveling Australian squad Monday night at home.
Spencer County jumped out to an early lead on a Mackenzie Myers 3-pointer but then the Aussies fought back to take a 6-5 advantage midway through the first quarter. A MacKenzie Keown jumper reclaimed the lead for a moment, but the visitors then went on a 7-2 run and led 13-12 after the first buzzer.
They built that lead to 17-12 before McKenna Pfeiffer connected on two free throws and then converted a steal into a basket to make it 17-16. The two teams traded points over the next several minutes before a jumper by Krysten Barlow gave the Lady Bears the lead at 24-22 with just two minutes left in the half. However, the Aussies would score the final five points of the half to take a narrow 27-24 advantage into the locker room.
In the second half, Myers hit two 3-pointers to keep the Bears close. Junior Kaylan Nigh continued her impressive play off the bench when she came in and scored four quick points in the quarter, her second basket tying the game at 36-36. A Barlow basket off a rebound in the final minute gave Spencer County the lead and the Lady Bears entered the fourth quarter up 39-38.
Keown opened the fourth quarter with an old-fashioned three point play, and then converted another basket and free throw a couple of minutes later to help cap off a 10-0 run to put Spencer County up 49-38. After two baskets by the Aussies, Nigh scored again to stop the rally and the Lady Bears then relied on Pfeiffer being nearly perfect from the free-throw line to seal the victory down the stretch.
It was a well-balanced attack for Spencer County that paved the way as three players hit double figures for the Bears as Pfeiffer finished with 18, Myers had 15 and Keown added 12. Nigh came off the bench and scored eight points with Barlow chipping in with four.
Coach David Marion said he continues to be pleased with his seniors, and with the production he’s found from Nigh off the bench.
Pfeiffer suffered a broken leg that left her playing days in serious question over the summer, but has returned to help spark the Lady Bears this year.
“McKenna Pfeiffer is obviously coming off a very serious injury and is playing better each and every day,” said Marion. He also had high praise for fellow senior Keown.
“Keown is our quiet leader,” he said. “She is one of only a couple of kids that I have ever coached over my 15 years that I would call a true leader. She leads by example, working hard in practice and doing whatever she can do to help her team win.”
A nice addition of late has been the good play of Nigh.
“During the summer and at tryouts, I discussed with Kaylan that she is one of the most athletically gifted kids on our team,” Marion said. “She has been working to improve her skills and hopefully these good efforts recently will give her the confidence and desire to keep getting better.”
The Lady Bears followed the Aussie win with a humbling 66-16 loss to Anderson County. The Lady Bearcats are ranked No. 2 in the entire state and will likely be a factor in the state tournament later in the year. On Saturday, the girls hosted Henry County and dropped a 58-39 decision.
The girls were to host Williamstown on Tuesday night, and will be at home this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. against North Oldham. During the Saturday game, Myers – who recently recorded her 1,000th point as a Lady Bear – will join four past Lady Bear players who also accomplished that feat in a special recognition before the game.