Lady Bears lose to Shelby Co. in heart breaker

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By John Shindlebower

Fishermen often talk about the one that got away. The Spencer County Lady Bears and their fans left their home gym Monday night talking about the one that was taken away as the girls dropped a 51-50 tilt to visiting Shelby County following a controversial decision by the officials in the closing moments of the contest.

With just nine seconds remaining and the Lady Bears hanging on to a 50-49 lead, the Lady Rockets tried to work the ball inside, eventually getting a shot that failed. Spencer County’s Chelsea Gross appeared to grab the rebound as time expired, but an official blew his whistle, ruled that Gross was standing on the endline, and after a brief huddle, officials decided to put two seconds back on the clock.

The Rockets were able to inbounds the ball underneath the basket and a short jumper fell through the net and time expired, dropping the Lady Bears to 8-6 on the season, and 1-2 in the district.

Despite the controversial finish, the Lady Bears failed to take advantage of several opportunities to ice the game in the waning seconds. They missed three of their final four free throws and after rebounding a missed Shelby County shot with just 12 seconds remaining, they threw the ball away giving the Lady Rockets another opportunity.

The closing moments capped an exciting game that featured several lead changes and no team leading my more than six points throughout the game.

On a night when Spencer County senior Kenisha Marshall was honored in a pregame ceremony for scoring her 1,000 point during a tournament in Campbellsville, it was Marshall who dominated in the first half, scoring 11 of the Lady Bears’ 15 first quarter points, as they trailed 16-15 after one.

Marshall opened up the second quarter with another basket before Shelby County’s zone began effectively denying her the ball. Fellow senior Shelby Pfieffer stepped up and hit a three and scored on a putback to keep Spencer County close before the Lady Rockets closed the half on a 6-2 run to go up 28-22 at the break.

In the second half, junior Chelsea Gross scored to open the third and the Lady Bears again found Marshall inside, as she scored six straight points to knot the score at 30-30. Spencer County’s Jayme Thomas then drained a three-pointer from the corner to give the Bears their first lead of the half at 33-30 and the two teams traded the lead several times down the stretch before Marshall hit two free throws in the final two seconds to give Spencer County a 39-37 lead heading into the final quarter.

Marshall followed her own miss with three minutes remaining to put the Lady Bears back on top, 45-44. Two Thomas free throws and a Gross bucket inside put Spencer County on top 49-44 with just over a minute remaining, but Shelby County scored quickly to bring it back to three. Thomas connected on one free throw with 44 seconds remaining to push the lead back to four at 50-46, but a three-pointer by Shelby County made it a one point game with 23 seconds to go.

The Lady Bears were called for a five second violation trying to inbound the ball, giving Shelby County possession. Marshall cleanly blocked a Shelby County shot but the outlet pass was not handled and the Rockets got a second chance with nine seconds to go setting up the controversial finish.

For the game, Marshall led the way with 23 points and the girls got good balance with Gross adding 10, Pfieffer hitting for nine points and Thomas adding 8.

In games late last week, the Lady Bears took the final two contests in a tournament at Campbellsville, besting Eminence 65-17, and outlasting Blackburn, a school from Melbourne Australia, 43-37.

In the Eminence game, Marshall and Gross each had 18 points. Thomas added 10 points, Pfeiffer and McKenzie Smith had six points each and McKenzie Myers added three points. Point guard Ashley Wiley dished out 8 assists on the night.

The Lady Bears will be back in action this week hosting a boys/girls doubleheader against North Bullitt on Thursday and another doublehead against an Australian national team on Friday night. They’ll then get a break from action until January 17 when they travel to Louisville Brown.