Sports

Madden's 23 lead Clay County past Paul Laurence Dunbar for girls' FCIT title

Clay County's Cheyenne Madden shot over Dunbar's Brooke Todd. Madden scored 23 points as Clay County ran its record to 10-0.
Clay County's Cheyenne Madden shot over Dunbar's Brooke Todd. Madden scored 23 points as Clay County ran its record to 10-0. Herald-Leader

Pushed to overtime Thursday in the finals of the girls' iHigh Fayette County Invitational basketball tournament, Clay County had a tiger in the tank.

Cheyenne Madden scored five of her game-high 23 points in the extra period as the 10th-ranked Tigers held off Paul Laurence Dunbar 65-60 at Bryan Station.

Clay County, which made it to the Elite Eight of the State Tournament last March, is off to a 10-0 start.

Madden, a 5-foot-11 junior, also had 16 rebounds.

"It's just an amazing honor we were able to come up here and show everybody that we are one of the top teams in the state," Madden said.

Alisha Mitchell added 21 points and four assists.

Dunbar (8-3) was led by Morgan McEldowney with 14 points. Kierra Muhammad had 12 points, four assists and five steals. Lexus Edwards added 10 points, and Brooke Todd came off the bench to add six points and 13 rebounds.

The Bulldogs also got 12 points and six rebounds from LaKeena Parks, although she was limited to 15 minutes because of foul trouble.

Parks picked up two fouls in the first 4½ minutes, sat the rest of the half, then picked up her third foul 41 seconds into the third quarter.

Dunbar misfired often, going 22-for-73 (30 percent). That included a 1-for-16 effort from three-point range, the last 14 off the mark.

"We played well the first three games" of the tournament, Dunbar Coach Sarah Van Horn said. "Tonight we got away from what we do best. Their big kids just really got to us. We got in a lot of foul trouble in the first half and, when we're only going seven or eight deep and you get three or four people in foul trouble, it really, really hurts."

The Tigers scored the last seven points of the first half to lead 24-20, and the last eight of the third quarter for a 41-40 advantage.

Muhammad's steal and layup with 1:13 left in regulation tied the game at 52.

Clay County turned the ball over twice. Dunbar had one giveaway and three missed shots in the last minute.

In overtime, Madden scored back-to-back buckets from the low post to build a 59-54 lead, and Dunbar never came closer than four points after that.

"Just gutsy play," winning coach James Burchell said. "We made a lot of mistakes and they did, too. It's still early in the season.

"Tournaments like this is how you learn to play. We've got some good kids on this basketball team. We just have to learn to quit turning the ball over and learn how to stay in sequence."

Clay Co. (9-0) — Cotton 4, Mitchell 21, Smith 8, Madden 23, Chestnut 6, Mathis 3.

Paul Dunbar (8-2) — Fender 6, Muhammad 12, Edwards 10, McEldowney 14, Todd 6, Parks 12.

Clay Co. 6 18 17 11 13—65

Dunbar 12 8 20 12 8—60

Three-point goals: Clay Co. 1-2; Dunbar 1-16.

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