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The Spencer County Lady Bears have taken two huge steps over the past couple of years, but last week they got a glimpse of how big that next step is going to be.
Advancing to the 8th Region Tournament for the first time in years, the Lady Bears got an unfortunate draw in the first round, and had to face the Region’s top team in Simon Kenton at South Oldham. The outcome was decided early, but the Lady Bears at least showed some fight before the final horn sealed the eventual 61-34 score.
Spencer County struggled out of the gate as the Lady Pioneers used an unrelenting defense that forced numerous turnovers and limited shot attempts.
Less than three minutes into the game, Simon Kenton had raced out to an 11-0 lead and then converted another steal into a bucket, sank two three-pointers and scored 22 points before Spencer County’s Kenisha Marshall was able to put the Lady Bears on the scoreboard when she hit one of two free throws.
By the end of the first quarter, the score was 25-1 and it would have been easy for the girls from Spencer County to have quit.
But the Lady Bears have made too much progress in the last two years to give up easily. Last season, the girls posted their first winning season in several years, and this year, they continued that improvement, beating Shelby County for the first time and advancing to the region tournament.
In the second quarter, the Lady Bears followed suit and showed improvement.
They were able to tighten up their defense on the Lady Pioneers and began to get the ball inside for scoring opportunities.
Jayme Thomas opened the second frame with a short jumper and two minutes later would add a free throw after being fouled on a shot attempt. Marshall got a bucket about three minutes in and Shelby Pfeiffer began to go inside drawing fouls and scoring four points on six free throw attempts.
At the other end of the floor, the Lady Bears held Simon Kenton to just five points in the quarter and as the clock ticked down in the half, Spencer County’s MacKenzie Smith drained a three-pointer to make it 30-13.
In the third quarter, Simon Kenton again showed why it is one of the top teams in the state as they quickly erased any hopes for a miracle Spencer County rally, outscoring the Lady Bears 19-4 to take a commanding 49-17 lead into the final quarter.
Marshall and Pfeiffer continued to work the paint on the inside, getting buckets and getting fouled, which was Spencer County’s most effective offensive weapon on the night. However Simon Kenton never showed signs of letting up, and cruised to the 61-34 victory.
The Lady Pioneers proved their dominance was no fluke, as they won their regional semi-final game by 20 points over Oldham County, and then defeated a strong Anderson County squad by 20 points in the finals to advance to this week’s Sweet 16 at Western Kentucky’s Diddle Arena.
For the Lady Bears, it was the end to a season that saw them post another winning record (14-13), advance in the postseason, and lay the groundwork for a program on the rise.
For the game, Marshall led the way with 14 points while Pfeiffer added 12. Thomas and Smith each added three and Chelsea Gross finished with two.
Next week, see the Magnet for a season wrap-up story.
Thanks to Paul Gross for supplying us with stats and much information for our coverage this year.