By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
Southwestern head coach Tim Rice couldn’t have asked for a better performance than the one he got from his team on Monday night.
The Southwestern Lady Warriors played arguably their best game of the 2012-13 season in one of the most important games, as they came into the match-up with McCreary Central vying for the coveted top seed in the 48th District.
It was mission accomplished for Rice and the Lady Warriors, as they pulled away from the visiting McCreary Central Lady Raiders by a final score of 57-39. With the 18-point victory, Southwestern moved to 14-9 on the year, but more importantly, grabbed the top seed for the Girls 48th District Tournament, which will be held later this month at Monticello.
“I was very pleased with our effort in the second half,” began Rice, who is in his ninth season at Southwestern. “In the first half, I thought we played just enough to hang in there. We didn’t do what we wanted to do, but we hung in there. Destiny Molden played a great first half. Samantha Fitzgerald and Adison Corder, along with the rest of the team, played great in the second half.”
It was a stellar second half for ladies sporting blue and orange, as they outscored the Lady Raiders by a margin of 32-14. In other words, McCreary Central didn’t have an answer for Southwestern in the third and fourth quarters.
The score coming out of the intermission was 25-25. Southwestern would quickly break the tie with a three-point play from sophomore Adison Corder. Corder’s three-point play set the tone for the rest of the evening, as her basket kicked off an 11-2 run.
Following the old-fashioned three-point play, Corder hit a trey to put the Lady Warriors out front, 31-25. After a lay-up from the Lady Raiders’ Kaylee Cotton cut the Southwestern lead to four points, Southwestern answered back with a Destiny Molden three-pointer and a lay-up from freshman Samantha Fitzgerald to put the Lady Warriors ahead, 36-27.
It was a big third period for the trio of Corder, Molden, and Fitzgerald, as they combined for 19 of Southwestern’s 24 third quarter points. At the conclusion of the third frame, Southwestern led by 24 points at 49-32.
Southwestern’s big run was due to McCreary Central’s numerous turnovers, which came about after the pressure applied by the Lady Warrior defense. In the third period of action, the Lady Raiders committed nine turnovers.
The fourth period of the evening was a low-scoring one, as the Lady Warriors outscored McCreary Central by a lone point at 8-7. Southwestern took the game by 18 points to move to 4-1 in district action, allowing them to grab the number one seed, which was one of three preseason goals for the Lady Warriors.
“One of our preseason goals was to be the top seed in the district,” stated the veteran Lady Warrior hoops coach. “We want to be the top seed, win the district, and win the region - those are our three goals every year. We accomplished that first goal by being the top seed.”
Molden had a huge night for the Lady Warriors, as she led all scorers with 21 points, which included six three-pointers. The sophomore’s hot hand kept Southwestern in the game early on, as she tallied 15 of her team’s 25 points in the opening half.
Corder took care of business for Southwestern in the second half, tallying of 10 of her 14 points in the third and fourth quarters. Fitzgerald finished just short of a double-double, as the freshman scored 9 points and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Lady Raiders were led in scoring by Cotton, who finished with 20 points. Cotton also had a club-high eight boards.
Southwestern was back in action last night, traveling to Monticello to face the Lady Trojans. On Friday night, the Lady Warriors will host the Rockcastle County Lady Rockets in a boy-girl doubleheader at 6 p.m. at the Wigwam.
Rice is hoping his Lady Warrior team is peaking at the right time of the year.
“I’m really happy with the way we played tonight,” concluded Rice. “We played with a little more fire and a little more intensity than we’ve had in the past few games. Hopefully in the five games that we’ve got left, we can start peaking at the right time.”
MCHS 17 8 7 7 – 39
SWHS 15 10 24 8 – 57
McCreary Central (12-9) – Cotton 20, King 4, Foster 7, Terry 3, Gibson 3, Stevens 2.
Southwestern (14-9) — Molden 21, Corder 14, Fitzgerald 9, Latham 6, Combs 3 Fothergill 2, Venable 2.