Despite a potential season-ending injury and finishing on the negative side of several statistics, West Carter scored a 58-55 victory over Owensboro Catholic in the final game of the morning session in the girls’ All “A” Classic.
It was the Comets’ first win in All “A” Classic state tournament since it made the finals in 2002; they’d went 0-4 in their openers since then.
Hannah Bear, a sophomore, finished with a game-high 18 points for West Carter, which’ll play Trimble County in the quarterfinals Friday morning at the Frankfort Convention Center. She was 4-for-7 from beyond the arc, including two go-ahead triples inside the final 2:30.
A glance at the box score would lead one to think Owensboro Catholic won in a rout. The Aces, rated about 12 points better in the Cantrall Ratings, outrebounded West Carter 42-13 and shot 52.2 percent from the field compared to 40.8 percent for the Comets.
One area in which West Carter thrived? Three-point shooting: the Comets were 11 of 26 from beyond the arc (42.3 percent) while the Aces went 0-for-6.
“Everybody doesn’t think that we can play as well as we did and I think this can be an eye-opener for people to come out and watch us play,” Bear said.
Second-year Coach Aaron Rayburn was pleased with his team’s spirited effort against Owensboro Catholic, which returned one starter from a team that lost in the All “A” finals last season.
“Our goal at the beginning of the year was to just make it, to win our region,” Rayburn said. “ ... They just took control from the beginning and never did let up. I’m just ecstatic about it. Them girls just played their butts off on a big court.”
Sophomore Madison Hanshaw, who sat out last year while recovering from a right ACL tear, was helped off the court during the second quarter. West Carter believe she may have suffered a tear to her left ACL.
“We owed it to Maddie to come back and play hard for her,” said freshman Kallie Burchett, who scored 17 for the Comets (13-6).
The potential loss of Hanshaw is the latest blow for the Comets, who are already without Becca Nolen, a freshman who led West Carter in scoring and rebound last season, for the year after an ACL injury. That’ll likely mean more playing time for another youngster; Hanshaw is one of the team’s three sophomores and West Carter has no juniors or seniors on its roster.
“We’re praying that things are different than what our trainers are leaning towards, but right now based on the trainers it’s not looking good for the girl,” Rayburn said. “ ... You win, and then you come into the locker room and see her sitting there, it just breaks my heart for our whole team.”
MacKenzie Keelin had 17 points and 13 rebounds for Owensboro Catholic.