High School Basketball

Girls' Sweet Sixteen: Marion Co., Hopkinsville, Lincoln Co. advance

Marshall County's Mariah McKenty (15) collides with Hopkinsville's Haley Cook in a girls' high school basketball game Thursday, March 8, 2012, during the KHSAA Girls' Sweet 16 State Basketball Tournament at Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Ky (AP Photo/Daily News, Joe Imel)
Marshall County's Mariah McKenty (15) collides with Hopkinsville's Haley Cook in a girls' high school basketball game Thursday, March 8, 2012, during the KHSAA Girls' Sweet 16 State Basketball Tournament at Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Ky (AP Photo/Daily News, Joe Imel) AP

BOWLING GREEN — Sydney Harris and Ciara Saylor scored five points each in overtime as Lincoln County edged Clay County 56-50 Thursday to complete the first round of the Houchens Industries/KHSAA Girls’ State Basketball Tournament in E.A. Diddle Arena.

Harris and Emily Fox led the Lady Patriots (25-9) with 15 points each. Kourtney Belcher added 11 and Saylor had seven.

Clay County (31-6) got 19 points and seven rebounds from Cheyenne Madden. Morgan Chesnut had 14 points.

Harris and Saylor combined for the first four points of overtime, a lead the Patriots never relinquished.

The Tigers led 22-18 at halftime and were still up four, 33-29, through three quarters.

Lincoln County, sparked by freshman Heidi Huffman’s back-to-back three-pointers, took a 41-36 lead midway through the fourth quarter.

Clay County rallied, too, to take a 46-45 lead on Alisha Mitchell’s pull-up jumper with 16 seconds left in regulation.

Fox forced overtime, making the front end of a one-and-one with nine seconds left.

Mitchell had a chance to win for Clay, but was pressured on a shot from the right wing and missed everything.

Marion County 56, Walton Verona 49: Kyvin Goodin-Rogers scored 15 points and pulled down 12 rebounds as Marion County beat Walton Verona.

Fifth Region champion Marion County (32-4) never trailed in the second half thanks to double-figure scoring by Goodin-Rogers, Makayla Epps with 14 points, Bre Elder with 12 and Logan Powell with 10 points.

The Lady Knights, ranked second in the state in Dave Cantrall’s ratings, used an 11-1 run at the beginning of the fourth quarter to take their largest lead of the game.

Eighth Region champion Walton-Verona (29-7) cut the lead to three with 1:26 to play but never came closer. Judy Michele scored 17 points and Sandlin Courtney chipped in 10 to pace the Bearcats, ranked 19th in the state.

The Lady Knights play Hopkinsville in the quarterfinals Friday.

Hopkinsville 56, Marshall County 52: Christy Soldo scored 24 points, including the game’s go-ahead field goal with 43 seconds to play, as Hopkinsville held off Marshall County.

The 2nd Region champion Lady Tigers (32-4) gave up a 14-point second-half lead but went 3-for-4 on free throws after Soldo’s basket to secure a victory in their first state tournament appearance. Hopkinsville faces Marion County in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Alyssa Barnard’s put-back with 1:09 to play gave 1st Region champion Marshall County (27-9) its first lead since the game’s opening bucket, but the Lady Marshals failed to score again and saw their 12-game winning streak end.

Mariah McKenty led Marshall County with 15 points, Tory Fehrenbacher scored 11 and Barnard pulled down 11 rebounds.

Notes

-- Flyers emblazoned with the state flag of Kentucky were handed out to fans attending the Thursday night session. When the national anthem was performed before the Magoffin County-Ashland Blazer game, fans were encouraged to hold their flags in support of all Kentuckians who were affected by last week’s tornadoes and severe storms.

-- Hopkinsville’s Christy Soldo said she missed her first six free-throw attempts during practice Wednesday. She took that as an omen — she was getting all of her misses out of the way. Thursday, she went to the line with six seconds left and her Tigers nursing a 54-52 lead over Marshall County.

“I thought, ‘You know what? We’re going to the next round because I’m going to make these,’” Soldo said. Quoting Coach Tonya Wells, Soldo added: “Fifty percent of winning is thinking you can.”

Soldo made both shots, sealing a 56-52 victory.

Said Soldo: “What it comes down to, basically, is we do what we do better than they do what they do.”

-- All “A” state champion Walton-Verona gave a good run before falling to heavily favored Marion County.

Said Michele Judy, who had 17 points and seven rebounds in defeat: “It stinks, because we were that close.”

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