Madison County

'Secret' weapon helps Flyers grind out win

RICHMOND — When times get tough and games get rough, Coach Joey Thacker has little doubt how his Franklin County team will respond.

"We've been fortunate to have a group of kids who answer the bell every time," Thacker said of his Flyers, who advanced to the Girls' 11th Region Tournament semifinals with a 63-52 win over Bryan Station on Tuesday night.

Early in the second half, the Defenders made a game of it and cut the Flyers' lead to three points at Eastern Kentucky's McBrayer Arena.

But Thacker wasn't worried.

"At that point, we did a good job of executing in the half-court, of getting the ball to the right people at the right time," he said. "We knew it would be a grind-it-out kind of game because we're a grind-it-out kind of team."

And the right person for the Flyers, No. 17 in Dave Cantrall's Rating the State, was center Chelsea Craig.

The 5-foot-10 junior had 19 points, nine rebounds and three steals for Franklin County, which has won seven straight and 12 of its last 13.

"She may be the best-kept secret in the state when it comes to post players," Thacker said. "She's just so quick and strong to be that big. She really asked for the ball when Bryan Station was making its run, and our kids did a great job of getting it to her."

That Station run didn't last as the Flyers used a 10-2 rally to make their lead more comfortable.

Andrea Howard had four points in that spree and finished with 13 points and four rebounds. Reserve Chelsea Rivers added 10 points.

The Flyers' experience in big games showed during that span, Station Coach Karra Jackson said.

"We were almost over the hump, but we just couldn't get all the way over it," she said. Her Defenders, who graduate just one senior, were making their first trip to the region tournament since 2002.

"It's all about experience," Jackson said. "Nobody on this team has ever been to the region. ... In a 10-point game, the experience can make all the difference. Maybe next year it can be us on the other side of a 10-point game."

Carrington Caise and Alesha Prince had 10 points apiece for the Defenders.

Thacker would like to see his team continue its grind-it-out trend on Friday against No. 2 Lexington Christian.

The Flyers played the Eagles down to the wire and fell by four points in mid-January.

"We know LCA is absolutely on a roll and I don't know if anybody can beat them, but we get our chance on Friday," said Thacker, whose team is aiming to make its first Sweet Sixteen appearance in 29 years.

After Tuesday's win, Craig has faith that her team can do it.

"We're just trying to prove some things to people because everybody thinks we're the underdog," she said. "We're just trying to prove we can stick it out with the big dogs."

No. 2 Lexington Christian 65, Madison Southern 40: The Eagles (26-4) made quick work of Southern (2-23) to win their 13th in a row and advance to the semifinals.

No LCA starter played more than 10 minutes and seven seconds as the Eagles jumped out to leads of 30-4 and 44-12.

Western Kentucky signee Courtney Clifton made good use of her time, scoring 16 points and grabbing three rebounds in eight minutes.

Sarah Beth Barnette, a UK commitment, had nine points, five rebounds and four blocked shots in 10 minutes. Anna Martin, who has signed with DePaul, added eight points, four steals and three assists, all in the first quarter.

For Southern, Jessica Helton had a game-high 13 points. Mary Mullins added 10 points and 14 rebounds.

LEXINGTON CHRISTIAN 65, MADISON SOUTHERN 40

MADISON SOUTHERN (2-23) — Hogwood 2-6 0-0 4, Helton 4-7 1-2 13, Calhoun 3-21 1-2 7, Evans 3-7 0-0 6, Mullins 4-14 2-2 10, Broughton 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-56 4-6 40.

LEXINGTON CHRISTIAN (27-4) — Rose 1-3 0-0 3, Purdy 2-10 0-0 6, Martin 4-5 0-1 8, Barnette 2-5 3-4 9, C. Panter 2-6 0-0 5, Mitchuson 3-5 0-0 8, Rhinehart 0-5 2-2 2, Pennington 0-3 0-0 0, Dorton 3-5 0-0 6, Cox 1-1 0-0 2, Clifton 7-12 0-0 16, Eastham 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 25-62 5-7 65.

Madison Southern 4 8 8 20 —40

Lexington Christian 30 14 8 13 —65

FRANKLIN CO. 63, BRYAN STATION 52

BRYAN STATION (15-16) — Caise 4-8 22 10, Mosby 3-12 0-0 8, Washington 2-3 1-6 5, Williams 2-8 0-0 4, Prince 5-9 0-0 10, Sandusky 3-10 0-0 7, Crumbie 2-4 1-1 5, Blackwell 1-4 0-0 3. Totals 22-58 4-10 52.

FRANKLIN CO. (24-6) — Brown 0-3 3-4 3, Rivers 3-5 2-2 10, Howard 4-8 3-5 13, Brown 0-1 0-0 0, Craig 7-13 5-6 19, Ramcke 1-5 5-6 7, Decker 0-1 2-2 2, Mayes 1-4 2-2 4, Onan 1-2 2-2 4, Smith 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 17-42 25-31 63.

Bryan Station 10 11 12 19 —52

Franklin Co. 17 10 14 22 —63

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