For the first time since 2010, the Scott County girls’ basketball team is headed to the Sweet Sixteen.
The Cardinals overwhelmed Franklin County, riding their frenetic run-and-gun attack to a 77-54 win over the Flyers in the 11th Region Tournament championship game at Eastern Kentucky University’s McBrayer Arena on Saturday night. Four Cardinals scored in double figures, led by Peyton Riddle’s 20.
Riddle knocked down seven of 15 shots from the field and all four of her free throws. She also cleared a team-high nine rebounds and seemed to come through with a clutch shot every time Franklin County threatened to climb back in the game.
“Franklin made some huge runs and our kids just never seemed shook. They always seemed like, ‘hey, we’ve been here before,’” said Scott County Coach Steve Helton. “When we needed a shot, my goodness, (Riddle) stepped up. And she’s done it all year.”
Franklin County fought back from double-digit deficits multiple times but the Cardinals always had an answer. Trailing 30-16 early in the second quarter, the Flyers got back within nine points on a three-pointer by Julia Walsh and a pair of free throws by Kindall Talley. They later cut the Cardinals’ lead to seven at 39-32 on drives by Talley and Emily Jordan.
Scott County responded with a 10-0 run punctuated by a three-pointer from Riddle. Moments later a runout bucket by Jasmine Simpson got Franklin County back within 10, but the Cardinals went on another 10-0 run that included a pair of free throws from Riddle after Franklin County Coach Joey Thacker drew a technical foul, as well as another Riddle three-pointer.
“Riddle is a stone-cold killer,” said Thacker. “She’s haunted me since she was in the third grade. And she did that tonight. She’s just such a clutch scorer.”
Scott County’s Maaliya Owens scored 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting while Morgan DeFoor and Juliette Smith added 13 points apiece.
Junior guard Kindall Talley led Franklin County, which won the previous three 11th Region Tournaments, with 16 points.
Thacker said the run the Flyers were were able to make this year despite losing the top two scorers from last season’s state runner-up squad is a point of pride.
“I’m so proud of them because they weren’t high maintenance and they played for each other,” he said. “To lose what we did and still make this run was special ... I told them that they carried me a lot more this year than I carried them because of their resilience.”