Webster County’s rally falls short in 53-38 loss to Boyd County
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS—Webster County had been shown the door in the first round of the state tournament the past three times the Lady Trojans had been in it, and that trend did not change on Thursday night as 16th Region champion Boyd County handed the Lady Trojans a 53-38 loss in the first round of the St. Elizabeth Healthcare/KHSAA Girls Sweet Sixteen® Basketball Tournament at Northern Kentucky University’s BB&T Arena.
“Just very proud of our fight,” Webster County coach Brandon Fisher said. “I don’t think we ever stopped throughout the course of the game. Their effort is always there. Sometimes we come up a little bit short on the scoreboard, but you can never fault their effort. Very, very proud of our season.”
The Lady Trojans (28-7) led 10-8 at the end of the first quarter, but Boyd County outscored the Lady Trojans 15-4 in the second quarter to take a 23-14 lead into the locker room. The Lady Trojans struggled to find their offensive rhythm in the frame while the Lady Lions drilled three 3-pointers.
“Didn’t do some things that we could’ve done a lot better,” Fisher said. “We didn’t defensive rebound. They had 11 offensive rebounds in the first half, and three or four of them led to kickout threes.”
Overall Boyd County netted 10-of-27 shots from long range while shooting just 4-of-19 from inside the arc on the night.
“I think the biggest difference was they hit 10 threes and we hit four,” Fisher said. “There’s your 15-point difference right there.”
Boyd County (28-4) extended its lead up to 32-20 with 2:57 left in the third on a jumper by junior point guard and Marshall University commit Savannah Wheeler, but the Lady Trojans came roaring back with a triad of 3-pointers. Seniors Jamie Winstead and Jessica Winders found the mark on back-to-back 3-pointers, and freshman Sadie Wurth banked in a trifecta from the right wing just seconds before the horn to narrow the deficit to 32-29 going into the fourth—bringing the crowd that had made the drive all the way from Webster County to its feet.
But Boyd County was not fazed.
Neither team scored for nearly the first three minutes of the frame before a 3-pointer by Wheeler, but Winstead answered back with a driving layup on the left side to make it 35-31 with 4:44 left. However the Lady Trojans were unable to get closer the rest of the way as the Lady Lions hit timely 3-pointers and free throws to pull away for the victory.
“I told them we were fine,” said Boyd County coach Pete Fraley on what he told his team after Webster’s run at the end of the third. “We just needed to take care of business and settle down. We got the shots we wanted but they didn’t fall early. We just stayed the course. That three was a big momentum swing for (Webster), but my kids hung right in there and came back.”
Wheeler led the way for Boyd County with 14 points while Harley Paynter and Payton Shears added 11 and 12, respectively. Paynter was 3-of-3 from long range for the Lady Lions, who will play DuPont Manual in the quarterfinals on Friday night at 8 p.m. EST.
Webster County was unable to capitalize on the momentum it had obtained at the end of the third quarter as the Lady Trojans failed to put anything consistent together on offense in the final frame.
“It just seemed like we were chipping away and never could get over the hump there,” Fisher said. “Here’s the thing: we’d turn it over and they’d come down and hit a big three from the corner. So that’s really like a five or six-point possession.”
Winstead topped all Lady Trojan scorers with 12 points and eight rebounds while Winders added 11 points and four rebounds.
Wurth poured in five points off the bench for Webster County, and junior Karlie Keeney and sophomore Marissa Austin each had four. Freshman Mariah Austin rounded out the Lady Trojans’ scoring with a basket.
Webster County’s remarkable season came to an end on Thursday night in Highland Heights, and the Lady Trojans will greatly miss the leadership and work ethic of seniors Winstead, Winders and Kelsey Payne. But this year will serve as a building block going forward.
“We hadn’t been in here 20 years, and just winning the region and getting here was a big step in the right direction for the program,” Fisher said. “Hopefully the young girls see what it’s like up here with the atmosphere and are excited about it. We have to use this as a motivation and excitement to get back.”