Girls' Sweet 16: Miss Basketball finalists power Anderson Co. past Meade Co. 75-51

mmaloney@herald-leader.comMarch 13, 2014 

Sorry, Cinderella, Anderson County has booted you from the ball.

Makenzie Cann and Eriel McKee combined for 49 points and 16 rebounds Thursday as Anderson County thumped Meade County 75-51 in the Houchens Industries/KHSAA Girls' Sweet Sixteen in Diddle Arena.

The Lady Bearcats (28-4), winners of 13 in a row and 15 of 16, will meet top-rated Elizabethtown in Friday's quarterfinals.

McKee, like Cann a Miss Basketball finalist, had 25 points and 11 rebounds, plus four assists. Cann finished with 24 points and five boards.

Addi Lynch topped Meade scorers with 15 points. Morgan Turner had 12 points and eight rebounds, while Raley Johnson scored 11 points.

Meade County (16-16) made a game of it early, scoring eight straight points to take an 8-2 lead.

Anderson County didn't regain the lead until Cann hit a buzzer-beating three to make it 13-12 through one quarter.

That was the first of three consecutive Anderson County treys, and the lead was up to 29-18 by halftime.

The Bearcats continued to pour it on the Waves in the second half, pushing the lead to 24 late in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter amounted to mop-up time, the outcome no longer in doubt.

Elizabethtown 76, Sacred Heart 61: All five Lady Panther starters scored in double digits.

Reauna Cleaver led E-town (30-4) with 20 points, five rebounds and four steals.

Erin Boley added 19 points and 11 rebounds. Then came Rachel Warden with 12 points and Livie Bowling with 11, each geting five assists. Darien Huff scored 10 points.

Dai Jia Ruffin paced Sacred Heart (27-8) with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Raven Merriweather added 16 points and Gretchen Samsel had 12.

E-town made its first seven field-goal attempts. When it finally missed, Boley was there for a put-back.

The Lady Panthers led 37-24 at halftime, getting 13 points each from Boley and Cleaver.

"I thought the first half was probably one of the better halves that we've played this year," Coach Tim Mudd said. "I thought our execution was good. We took what they gave us."

Sacred Heart came on strong in the second half, pulling to within three (48-45) late in the third quarter.

E-town never lost the lead, though, and used an 8-0 run early in the fourth quarter to stretch the lead to 64-52. The lead was never less than eight after that.

"We defended really well. We were very active," Mudd said. "The second half ... I know we weren't as active defensively. And then they played with a sense of urgency. Their season was on the line and they made a run. I was very impressed with my kids' composure."

The Panthers finished 27 of 48 (56.3 percent) from the field and converted 19 of 28 free throws. They outrebounded the Valkyries 33-23.

Marshall Co. 54, Perry Co. Central 38: The Lady Marshals made five of nine three-pointers, won the rebounding battle 30-18 and kept Miss Basketball finalist Kayla Rankin contained.

"Defensively, we frustrated them. They shot 39 percent, they only made two three-pointers the whole game (and) they went to the line 13 times," Marshall Coach Joseph Simmons said. "So I've got to give credit to our girls for really sticking to the game plan. We didn't have much time to prepare."

The Marshals, who won the 1st Region title on Monday, had no current video on Perry County Central, relying instead on email scouting reports and video from last season.

That helped in preparing to defend Rankin.

"Any time one team has a girl averaging 29 points and 15 rebounds, she's going to be the focus," Simmons said. "So we wanted to make contact with her when she cut across the lane. We wanted to limit her touches. And we wanted to try to force her out on the perimeter a little bit more. So we switched up our defenses very frequently."

Rankin led the Lady Commodores (23-7) with 11 hard-earned points and eight rebounds.

"We're obviously disappointed," said PCC's Randy Napier, the winningest coach in state history. "We felt like we could compete a little better. ... Their length bothered us, and they shot the ball better than we anticipated from the scouting report."

The Marshals (31-5) were topped by Bailey Greer's 20 points. Allie York had 16 points and nine rebounds.

Marshall County, making a record 22nd state tourney appearance, will take an 11-game win streak into the quarterfinals against Clark County.

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.

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