It was a record-breaking evening last night at Somerset’s Briar Patch.
Unfortunately for head coach Jim Brown and the Lady Briar Jumpers, it was the Lady Raiders of McCreary Central that was re-writing history.
McCreary Central’s Lindsey Waters, a talented junior, who Brown called one of the top, if not the very best players in the entire 12th Region, became the Lady Raiders all-time leading scorer last night, leading McCreary Central to a 45-36 triumph over Somerset.
In McCreary Central’s 62-37 victory over Knox Central on Wednesday night, Waters poured in a game-high 32 points, as she surpassed the 1,400 point plateau for her career.
Coming into last night’s contest at Somerset 1,403 points for her outstanding prep career, Waters needed just 7 points to surpass Jessica Thompson, as McCreary Central’s all-time leading scorer in girl’s basketball.
Waters ended the suspense early on in this one, as she tallied that seventh point with 1:27 remaining in the first quarter, and the game was halted at that point to recognize Waters, with McCreary Central leading Somerset by a 14-8 margin.
Waters personal fortune over-shadowed a gutsy effort by Brown’s youthful Lady Jumpers, who fell to the 9-point defeat, in a game that was really much closer than the final score might have indicated.
Yes, Somerset was guilty of 31 turnovers on the night, which has been a bugaboo for Brown’s club for much of the season, but on this night, the energy and the effort was there.
“We had a game plan tonight going in, and the kids executed it really well,” stated Brown after the contest. “Caroline (Clay) really did a nice job on (Lindsey) Waters. She got 19 points, but she’s arguably the best player in the region, because she’s just so smooth.”
“The kids really bought into the game plan, and I thought we just played with a lot more energy tonight,” said Brown. “We were more enthusiastic, and right now, we’re just building toward the district tournament, taking it one game at a time.”
The lead see-sawed back and forth between the two clubs in the opening stanza, as there was four lead changes early on.
McCreary Central’s Tara Tucker netted the first 7 points of the contest for the Lady Raiders, before Waters ever scratched the scoring column.
However, midway through the opening frame, Waters came to life and went to work offensively.
With the Lady Jumpers clinging to an 8-7 lead, Waters scored the next 7 points of the contest, giving her club a 14-8 advantage; a lead McCreary Central would never relinquish.
Tucker scored all 10 of her points in the first half, while Waters added 11, and the Lady Raiders went into the intermission with a 25-17 lead; helped in large part by 17 first half turnovers by the Lady Jumpers.
“We saw some good things tonight from some kids that haven’t played a whole lot for us this season,” Brown pointed out.
“Due to our injury situation, we’re having to play more and more kids, and that does manifest itself into the turnovers a little bit,” continued Brown. “We competed tonight, and we had a chance to go up and win the game late, if things would have bounced our way.”
In fact, Somerset put forth a spirited effort after the intermission, in which Brown’s club came out in the second half chipping away at the Lady Raider lead.
Somerset held McCreary scoreless for well over four minutes to start off the second half, while the Lady Jumpers were on a mini, 5-0 spurt themselves.
Samantha Dorsey completed an old-fashioned three-point play for her only points of the night during the rally, and the Lady Jumpers, all of a sudden, had the deficit down to just three points, 25-22, after trailing McCreary by 14 points, 23-9 midway through the second quarter.
McCreary Central only scored 6 points in the third frame, but after Dorsey’s three-point play brought the Lady Jumpers to within striking distance at 25-22, Joni Marion scored on back to back baskets for the Lady Raiders, easing the lead back to seven points, at 29-22.
A Polly West three-point bucket drew Somerset even closer inside the final minute of the frame, 29-27, but Waters scored on a put back the next trip down for McCreary Central, giving her club a 31-27 lead headed into the final period of play.
In that final frame, Somerset trimmed the lead to three points on several occasions, but the Lady Jumpers could never seem to get over the hump, to get into a position for the upset victory.
Allison Childers gave Somerset its last glimmer of hope in this one, as her basket with :55 left on the clock, brought the Lady Jumpers once again to within three points of McCreary, 39-36.
From that point on however, it was all McCreary Central.
After a timeout, Marion broke away and hauled in a long pass for a wide open layup, giving the visitors a 41-36 lead.
On Somerset’s next possession, Garra Kidd came up with a steal at midcourt, drove the ball coast to coast for a layup, and was fouled on the play.
That was the only three points of the night for Kidd, but they certainly couldn’t have came at a better time for the Lady Raiders, as Kidd’s three-point play gave McCreary a 44-36 lead with just :37 left in the game.
“We still pressed tonight, and we did get into their guard play a little bit,” Brown noted. “I’m not sure if they were fatigued from playing last night or not, but we gave a pretty good motivational speech tonight, and the kids just bought into it.”
“You could see it in their eyes before the game,” he added. “Their attention span was focused on what we wanted them to do, and the credit has to go to them. They really did execute what we wanted them to do tonight.”
Waters led all scorers in the game with 19 points, while pulling down a team-high 6 rebounds, as part of her record-breaking performance.
Tucker and Marion each joined Waters in double figures, as they both chipped in with 10 points for McCreary Central, which improved to 18-6 on the year with the win.
Somerset meanwhile, got two pretty good performances from Ashley Kimberl and Caroline Clay on the inside, as they each led the Lady Jumpers with 11 points apiece, helping offset Waters presence down in the paint.
“They were both going against a quality interior player in Waters, and I told them to not back down from her, and hopefully, if we could get some things to go our way, we could maybe get her into foul trouble and get into their bench,” said Brown.
“I thought Ashley really posted up hard in the first quarter, and she had a pretty nice mis-match on (Garra) Kidd,” added the Lady Jumper head coach. “Our kids passed the ball in there to Ashley, and they just did what we asked of them tonight. If we can get all our pieces going in the right direction, and knock down a few shots, and extend our defense, the kids can still have a lot of positive things happen to them this year.”
Somerset will return to action tonight, in a game that was postponed earlier in the year.
The Lady Jumpers will host the Lady Lions of Garrard County this evening at the Briar Patch, with that game set to tip off at 7:30 p.m.
MC 18 7 6 14 45
SHS 9 8 10 9 36
MC (45)—Waters 19, Marion 10, Tucker 10, Kidd 3, Vanover 2, Stephens 1.
SHS (36)—Kimberl 11, Clay 11, West 5, Felts 4, Dorsey 3, Childers 2.
It was a record-breaking evening last night at Somerset’s Briar Patch.