Victorious Lady Eagles Secure Spot in Regional Final by Defeating Calloway County

Lady Eagles

Victorious Lady Eagles Secure Spot in Regional Final by Defeating Calloway County

The semi-final round of the Mercy Health First Region Tournament kicked off on Friday evening at the CFSB Center with matchups from the girls’ division. In the first matchup of the round, Graves County Lady Eagles faced off against Calloway County Lady Lakers.

Graves County secured their spot in the semi-final round with a 64-51 victory over Paducah Tilghman, while the Lady Lakers punched their ticket by defeating Fulton County 77-44. In the opening game of the season between both sides, the Lady Eagles claimed a narrow overtime victory, clinching a 45-42 win at the start of December. In a similarly close and fiercely competitive matchup, Graves once again came out on top, securing a 42-39 win and booking their spot in the regional final on Saturday.

Leading the charge for the Lady Eagles was junior guard Hannah Glisson. Positioned at the center of Graves’ attack, she created ample opportunities for herself and her teammates, contributing 22 points to the victory.

Graves County’s head coach, Lyndon Dancing, praised Glisson’s performance, stating, “Hannah was a special player tonight. She knew when to step up and be the alpha dog, and tonight, she was the alpha. I felt like she really played well… everyone respects her game, she plays every game the way it should be played.”

Senior Morgan Alexander also played a crucial role for the Lady Eagles, ending the night with a 3-for-6 shooting performance and seven points. Matching her output was sophomore Ela Kemp, who finished with seven points as well.

For the Lady Lakers, sophomore guard Saylor Lowe led the scoring charge. With an impressive presence on the court, Lowe scored 13 of her team’s 39 points, contributing significantly to Calloway County’s total of 34 points out of 39.

Both teams pushed the pace from the tip-off, trading baskets end-to-end throughout the game. While Graves attempted to capitalize on their early lead, finding Kinsey Burgess in the paint for a 5-3 advantage, the Lady Lakers applied pressure in the backcourt, initiating an aggressive press as they frequently met Lady Eagle guards near half-court. Forcing turnovers and errors, Graves worked on tight defensive rotations, building a 9-0 run, and securing a late 11-3 lead in the opening frame. With just one pair of free throws left in the first quarter, Lady Eagles maintained an 11-5 advantage.

As the second quarter began, neither team was willing to budge an inch, and the score remained level for the first three minutes of play. The Lady Lakers broke the deadlock, containing Lowe’s drives and reducing her space on separate drives to lessen the single-handed dominance. As Lowe began to find her scoring touch, points started to flow, with Glisson and Ginger Martin keeping the Lady Eagles busy. However, despite Lowe heating up on the other end, Graves’ defense found its way, causing 12-point outbursts as the Lady Lakers rallied back to a narrow 17-16 deficit, which stood at halftime.

Lowe maintained her scoring pace to start the third, keeping Calloway County’s lead intact despite early minutes of minor advantage for Graves. Pressured by Glisson to fit defenders and break away from her matchup, Lowe managed to keep the Lakers in front with a slight lead as Glisson and Alexander linked up for six points of their own, bringing the contest to a 35-all tie. With just under two minutes on the clock, the Eagles regained the lead once more as Glisson altered a shot from the foul line, creating space to bring Grav…

However, despite Lowe adding four more points, the Lady Eagles were able to weather the increased pressure brought on by the Lady Lakers, as a failed last-second grab for control by Calloway County allowed Graves to secure their ticket to the regional final with a 42-39 victory.

Dancing remarked, “You have to know the mindset of tournament games; you have to find a way to win and move forward, and we found a way to win that game.” “You can’t give Ginger [Martin] and Kinsey [Burgess] a chance to beat you defensively, but our girls fought together. We got a lot of rebounds; we weren’t as big, we ran a smaller lineup to better match up with them, but our girls played well for their size… They were getting past Morgan [Alexander] and stealing from our three, so we had to drive the car early and not rely on the three, which is usually our strength.”

“We have girls who are coming in and asking on timeouts, ‘Coach, can we run this play?’ I’ve been coaching for a long time, and a lot of times players just play, but these girls play with a purpose.” Dancing continued to praise his players. “They are a thinking girls’ team; I’m really proud of these young ladies. They’ve struggled and found ways to win.”

With the regional final set for Saturday night at the CFSB Center, Dancing and his Lady Eagles now turn their attention to the reigning champions, McCracken County Lady Mustangs.

“We know the prestige and history of McCracken in the past few years,” Dancing noted. “They’re well-coached, they have some very good players. We’re happy to be in these finals, and we’re ready to face the challenge ahead.”

The girls’ regional championship game is scheduled for Saturday night at the CFSB Center, with tip-off information to be announced by 7 p.m.


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