CHILLICOTHE — The Miami Trace Lady Panthers were the first team from Fayette County to take the court in the District semifinal round of Division II tournament play Friday night at Southeastern High School.
Their opponent, the Sheridan Lady Generals, entered the contest ranked No. 5 in the state by the Associated Press.
It was just a very tough start for Miami Trace as Sheridan began the game with a 17-0 run en route to a 41-25 victory.
Sheridan (now 22-2) will play 23-1 Warren for a District championship back at Southeastern High School Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.
Miami Trace concludes the 2019-20 season with a record of 17-7.
Miami Trace was led by junior Magarah Bloom who scored eight points.
Senior Shaylee McDonald was next with four points, ending her career with 1,045 points.
Sophomore Emma Pitstick and freshmen Gracey Ferguson and Hillery Jacobs each scored three points for Miami Trace.
Junior Grace Conrad led the Generals with 13 points.
Senior Kendyl Mick scored eight, senior Faith Stinson had seven and sophomore Bailey Beckstedt had seven points.
Bloom broke the ice for Miami Trace with a bucket at the one-minute mark of the first period.
In the second quarter, the scoring was nearly even. Miami Trace trailed at one point by 20 points.
At the half, Sheridan was in front, 25-9.
The Lady Panthers were able to cut into the deficit in the third quarter.
Miami Trace went on a 6-0 run with free throws from Pitstick and a bucket from sophomore Libby Aleshire and one from Bloom to pull to within 10, 25-15, with 4:18 to play in the quarter.
Sheridan was having trouble finding the scoring range, but Miami Trace was unable to capitalize. The Lady Panthers had three chances to get the margin into single digits, but the shots would not fall.
The teams traded baskets in the final moments to put the score at 27-17 with eight minutes remaining.
Ferguson hit a three-point shot to make it 27-20 with 7:25 to play in the game.
Sheridan kept the door open for the Lady Panthers, with three turnovers early in the quarter.
However, Miami Trace missed its next six shot attempts and Sheridan was able to push the lead back to 11 with 2:52 to play.
The lead increased to 15 points for the Generals and, when they scored just before the final buzzer, that set the end result at 41-25.
“I told the kids in the locker room, a lot of times when you expend that much energy coming back…we had a couple of possessions there where we kind of took a deep breath…we were a little tired,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Ackley said. “Give Sheridan credit. They are a whale of a ball club, we knew that coming in. They are so big and so physical. I thought that affected our young kids a little bit tonight, being the first time in this kind of environment. They’ll grow from it.
“This (41) was the lowest point total Sheridan scored all year,” Ackley said. “I told the kids we just have to get better on offense. If you would have told me at 3 o’clock today that we would hold them to 41, I would have thought we would have been playing next week.
“I thought that our kids battled,” Ackley said. “We talked at halftime about just trying to get the (margin of difference) to 10 by the fourth quarter. I thought we did a good job of that. Ferguson’s three cut it to seven. We wanted to put pressure on them and we did that. When we were down 17-0, I thought there was a chance we could get beat by 35. They were clicking on all cylinders and we couldn’t do anything right.
“But, our kids have a lot of heart and character and it really showed tonight,” Ackley said.
Ackley spoke about Miami Trace’s three seniors: Shaylee McDonald, Aubrey McCoy and Grace Bapst.
“Aubrey McCoy and Grace Bapst have been as good a program kids as they could possibly be,” Ackley said. “They played their role and they sacrificed. They’ve been remarkable to each and every other kid on the team. They played a big role at different times as the season’s gone on.
“Grace Bapst has battled injury and fought through,” Ackley said. “And Aubrey McCoy is just Aubrey McCoy. She’s rock solid and seems to do everything right at all times and she’s been a great leader.
“Shay is just unbelievable,” Ackley said. “I can’t believe her and I, this chapter of our lives is over. It’s kind of sad. She’s grown as much, mentally, as any kid I’ve been around from the age of 15 to 18. She’s going to take her talents and abilities to the next level at Kentucky Wesleyan and she’s going to have a great four years there.
“I’m just fortunate to be able to be a part of these kids’ lives,” Ackley said. “We’re just very blessed and grateful for their efforts.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
MT 2 7 8 8 — 25
S 17 8 2 14 — 41
MIAMI TRACE — Sidney Payton 0-0-0; Mallory Pavey 0-0-0; Aubrey McCoy 0-0-0; Shay McDonald 1-2-4; Magarah Bloom 4-0-8; Libby Aleshire 1-0-2; Gracey Ferguson 0 (1)-0-3; Hillery Jacobs 1-1-3; Emma Pitstick 0-3-3; Delaney Eakins 0-2-2. TOTALS — 7 (1)-8-25. Free throw shooting: 8 of 10 for 80 percent. Three-point field goal: Ferguson. Field goal shooting: 8 of 41 for 20 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 1 of 11 for 9 percent. Rebounds: 26 (5 offensive). Turnovers: 15. Assists: 3. Steals: 7.
SHERIDAN — Faith Stinson 3-1-7; Aubrie White 1-0-2; Bailey Beckstedt 2 (1)-0-7; Grace Conrad 2 (2)-3-13; Abby Dupler 1-0-2; Gaby Carpico 0-0-0; Kinze Miller 0-0-0; Kendyl Mick 0 (1)-5-8; Brooklyn Heller 0-0-0; Adrienne Spicer 1-0-2; Sara Robinette 0-0-0. TOTALS — 10 (4)-9-41. Free throw shooting: 9 of 14 for 64 percent. Three-point field goals: Conrad, 2; Beckstedt, Mick. Field goal shooting: 14 of 44 for 32 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 4 of 14 for 29 percent. Turnovers: 15. Offensive rebounds: 17.
Thanks to Karl Kellenberger, the scorebook keeper for Miami Trace, for providing the stats again this season.