MONTICELLO – Stephen Butcher's Southwestern Lady Warriors captured their sixth consecutive 48th District Tournament Championship on February 22nd as they defeated the hosting Wayne County Lady Cardinals, 64-45.
Lady Warrior sophomore Regi Cundiff turned in a stellar offensive performance as she dominated the paint with a game high twenty four points, but it was Southwestern's effort on the defensive end in the second half that secured the victory.
The visitors held Wayne County to just three field goals in the final two quarters and limited Lady Cardinal Macey Blevins to just one bucket in that time frame to break open a close game and seal the win.
Lady Warrior Jenna Wood was given the task of shadowing Blevins after halftime and the sophomore didn't disappoint. Blevins had tallied fifteen points at intermission but was held to seven the remainder of the game thanks to Wood's smothering defensive effort.
The rest of the Lady Cardinal squad failed to pick up the scoring slack once the clamps were put on their leading scorer, allowing Southwestern to go on a 26-13 scoring run over the remaining sixteen minutes of the ballgame.
The Wayne County drought was the break the Lady Warriors needed to pull away and cruise to the nineteen point win.
Alexa Smiddy and Kennedy Harris chipped in with nine and seven points, respectively, for Southwestern.
Cundiff and Kallie Sheron led the Lady Warriors with seven rebounds each. Sheron also tallied a team high three assists.
Southwestern's record improves to 22-7 on the season. They will advance, along with the Lady Cardinals, to the 12th Region Tournament next week at Lincoln County High School. Game times and matchups will be announced at a later date.
Lady Warrior Coach Butcher thought his team's defensive effort after halftime was much better and Wood's defense was a key factor.
"In the second half we really stepped it up defensively. That started with Jenna Wood getting Blevins under control. Kennedy Harris didn't get as many shots off as she normally does, but she was ten times the defender in the second half as she was in the first half".
"Once we got straightened out after halftime, we started executing and making a few shots. We found Regi for some easy baskets along the baseline. She was a load. It sets us up well for next week".
In regard to that regional competition his squad will face next week in Stanford, Coach Butcher replied, "There really is no good draw or bad draw. You've got to show up, put your best foot forward and give yourself a chance. Hopefully it will turn out for the best".
Local members of the 48th District All-Tournament Team were Regi Cundiff, Kennedy Harris, Kallie Sheron and Alexa Smiddy.
SW 23 15 13 13 – 64
WC 21 11 7 6 – 45
SOUTHWESTERN (22-7) – Cundiff 24, Alexa Smiddy 9, Harris 7, Sheron 6, Young 5, Wood 5, Foreman 2, Noritis 2, H. Phelps 2, M. Phelps 2
WAYNE COUNTY (9-20) – Blevins 22, Conn 6, Turner 5, Jones 4, Campbell 3, Criswell 3, Sowell 2