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Oshe Baker goes up for a shot against Allen County-Scottsville during the 4th Region Tournament.

The Franklin-Simpson Lady Cats traveled to Diddle Arena on Mar. 3 to take on the Lady Patriots from Allen County Scottsville. The Lady Cats were the runner-ups in the 13th District Tournament, while the Lady Patriots were the champions from the 15th District. The Lady Patriots were considered by many to be the favorites to win the fourth region tournament, and they previously defeated the Lady Cats 71-29 in the first meeting between both teams on Dec. 16. The Lady Cats entered the game with a 12-16 record, and the Lady Patriots entered the game with a 24-4 win-loss record.

The Lady Cats head coach David Clark said that it would be very important for the Lady Cats to get out to a good start, instead of trying to play from behind the entire game. Cre Neblett took the first basket of the game which gave the Lady Cats an early 2-0 lead. Holly Robinson answered with a lay-up of her own to tie the game up at 2-2. The Lady Cats were able to hold the Lady Patriots star, Morgan Rich, to five points in the opening quarter, but the Lady Cats lacked an answer defensively for Holly Robinson. Robinson scored 11

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of the Lady Patriots 21 points in the opening frame, and the Lady Patriots led the Lady Cats 21-9 at the end of the first quarter.

The Lady Patriots were able to stretch their lead to 17 with 3 minutes left in the half, which was the biggest lead of the game so far for the Lady Patriots. Even with 12 turnovers through the first 13 minutes, the Lady Cat's showed patience and resiliency to cut the halftime deficit to 12 points, and the Lady Patriots led 35-23 at the half. Robinson scored a total of 16 points in the first half for the Lady Patriots.

"I felt pretty good at halftime, only down 12, we hadn't played well at all," Clark said.

The Lady Cats needed to come out in the second half and get out to a fast start, which was Coach Clark's focus during the past two weeks. Unfortunately, the Lady Cats were only able to succeed with three out of their 15 shots during the third quarter (20 percent).

"I felt like we needed to score early in the second half, to get some confidence, to get some things going, and we didn't," said Clark. "They go down and score a couple of buckets and next thing you know we are down 16."

"A lot of it is deer in the headlights," Clark added. "This is the first time these girls, on my team, have played in Diddle Arena. The regional tournament wasn't here last year, so this is their first time playing against a veteran team with a little more experience."

Many of the missed field goal attempts can be attributed to the stifling defense the Lady Patriots employed at the start of the third quarter. The Lady Cats were able to hold the Lady Patriots to 23 percent in shooting, but the Lady Cats could struggled to get the deficit to less than 10, which is the key number when trying to mount a comeback. Even though poor shooting plagued the team, the Lady Cats only trailed the Lady Patriots 32-47 at the end of the third quarter.

At the beginning of the final quarter, the Lady Patriots did exactly what they needed to do in order to pull away from the Lady Cats. The Lady Patriots used a 12-2 run in the first four minutes of the quarter to hold its largest lead of the game at 25 points, 59-35. The Lady Cats could only muster two made field goals and the Lady Patriots pulled away for the win 62-39.

"They (ACS) are the number one team in the region for a reason," Clark said. "I think their defense in the second half really wrapped it up. We gave up 29 points off of turnovers and you're not going to beat too many people giving up nearly 30 points off of turnovers."

"I thought we were nervous and afraid to make a mistake and our motto is "next play", but we just couldn't shake the feeling of a big stage game, and get us going," said Clark.

The Lady Cats were led in scoring by Keely Morrow who scored 15 points and also grabbed five rebounds. Megan Krantz scored 12 points in her final varsity game for the Lady Cats.

The Lady Patriots were led in scoring by Holly Robinson who scored 22 points. Morgan Rich, a UK signee, added 16 points and also 8 rebounds for the Lady Patriots.

The Lady Cats finished the season with a record of 12-17.

The Allen-County Scottsville Lady Patriots went on to defeat the Bowling Green Lady Purples in the finals of the fourth region tournament, 58-39. The Lady Patriots advanced to the KHSAA Girls Sweet Sixteen Tournament at E.A Diddle Arena.

Box Score

F-S: 9 14 9 7 Total: 39

ACS: 21 14 12 15 Total: 62

Scoring:

F-S: Morrow 15, Krantz 12, Neblett 6, Ervin 4, Baker 2

ACS: Robinson 22, Rich 16, Gregory 11, Sutton 5, Brooks 3, Day 3, Stafford 2

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