On the strength of huge nights from the trio of Peyton Riddle, Maaliya Owens and Morgan DeFoor, the No. 14 Scott County girls dominated Madison Southern 79-50 in the opening round of the 11th Region Tournament at Eastern Kentucky University’s McBrayer Arena on Monday night, setting up a semifinal showdown with Lafayette on Friday.
Riddle poured in a game-high 28 points on 12-for-22 shooting while Owens had 17 points, five steals and six assists. Freshman point guard DeFoor showed off top-notch handles and pushed the pace all game, adding 10 points, 10 assists and five steals.
DeFoor drew an audible gasp from the crowd in the first quarter when she swiped a steal in the backcourt, then fired a no-look pass to Riddle for a layup.
“I love that kind of stuff,” DeFoor said of the crowd’s reaction.. “I like to play a little flashy.”
Cardinals head coach Steve Helton said DeFoor “has flare and she plays with a chip on her shoulder and I love that.”
Scott County charged out of the gate, ripping off a 23-2 run as they built a 28-8 lead heading into the second quarter. The Cardinals scored 24 fast-break points to just two for the Jaguars.
Helton said the frenetic pace is by design, and if the Cardinals can keep dictating the tempo he likes their chances of making a deep postseason run.
“If we’re running up and down the court then I feel good about our chances against anybody,” he said. “I still think there’s room to improve. We’re gonna take the next three days and hone in on some things I think we’re gonna see Friday because we’re gonna have our hands full (with Lafayette).”
That up-tempo attack Helton preaches forced 33 Madison Southern turnovers, leading to 41 Scott County points. The Cardinals had 21 steals as a team and held the Jaguars to just 28-percent shooting.
A Conner Coyle tip-in with four minutes left in the first half cut Scott County’s lead to 12 points, but the Jaguars would get no closer.
Riddle scored six points in the fourth quarter before Helton pulled his starters.
DeFoor said it’s a luxury to have a prolific scorer like Riddle alongside her in the backcourt, especially when it comes to her own stats.
“It’s amazing, I love having her back there because that’s what gets my assists up,” she said with a laugh.
Scott County and Lafayette will tip off the 11th Region semifinals at EKU at 6:30 p.m. on Friday. The teams didn’t meet in the regular season.
SCOTT CO. 79, MADISON SOUTHERN 50
Madison Southern (9-22) — Coyle 8, Fallis 1, Lawson 10, Clark 11, Cornelison 9, Linville 6, Thorn 3, Sparks 2.
Scott Co. (20-9) — Hudson 2, Boehm 6, DeFoor 10, Owens 17, Riddle 28, Ward 4, Williams 2, Hoffman 2, Holt 2, Turner 2, Sutherland 4.