I have had the luyxury of going to the Girls' State tournament three years in a row now, and so far it has been another interesting experience here in Bowling Green.
Breathitt Co. vs. Simon Kenton
The first game of the day as far as mountain teams are concerned was at 6:30pm Central time (or 7:30pm for everyone back over in the 13th, 14th and 15th regions), and it placed Breathitt County with Simon Kenton.
Breathitt County seemed loose as they warmed up and I got the feeling that they were most certainly going to be in the game versus the Lady Pioneers.
The game started out fairly well for the Lady Kats as they got off to the quick start. In a day that we saw not a lot of scoring, Breathitt County scored 2 and a half minutes into the game to take the 3-0 lead after a steal from Brittany Hardin and then a three pointer by Brianna Deaton. The first half was back and forth with Breathitt County leading for most of it, but went into the locker room down by one, 16-15 for the Lady Pioneers. At the half, Breathitt County shot an impressive 42.9% from the floor while holding Simon Kenton to 16.7%.
At the half however, Kendall Noble had zero points and Brianna Deaton led the Lady Kats with 6 points. During halftime, Coach Peggy Moore was aware that Noble had not taken a shot, and said that Breathitt would most certainly rectify that right away.
Noble, however ended the day 1 of 4 from the floor but 9 of 16 at the line for a total of 11 points which, ended up leading the team in scoring. Noble added 6 assist along with 12 boards to her final numbers.
In the second half, Simon Kenton got out to a three point lead, but Breathitt was able to keep it close and tie it back up with the help of Noble at the line. At the end of the third the Lady Kats had the two point advantage, 28-26.
Breathitt had the lead up until 3 minutes left on the clock. At that point, they were up 37-36. After that though, Breathitt County only took three more shots, missing all of them down the stretch. They were not able to capitalize on some key possessions late, missing four free throws down the stretch and Simon Kenton came away with the 46-37 win.
Johnson Central vs. Casey County
Going into this game, Coach Phillip Wireman thought that he could use Johnson Central's size to exploit some weaknesses that Casey County may have had. If you are not familiar with Casey County, (I have seen them a couple of times) they have a freshman forward by the name of Megan Pittman that may be the only person that I have seen, that could handle Sara Hammond from Rockcastle County in the paint. Along with her, guards Kayla Mcfarland and Lauren Hatter kind of remind me of the Merissa Pruitt / Kayla Ratliff combo out in Phelps. Both can shoot it when they are hot. But with the size of Celena Conley, BB Salyer and Emily Wireman, Johnson Central could pound the inside and wear out Pittman.
Unfortunately for the Lady Eagles, that did not work. Johnson Central only shot 3 of 14 in first half but was 10 of 13 from the line. Haley Meek, Chelsey Salyers and BB Salyer were the only three to hit from the field.
In the second half, it was really the same story, Johnson Central shot 3 of 23 from the floor in the second half, but Casey County was not much better. The Lady Rebels shot 4 of 15 in the second half, but they also out-rebounded the Lady Eagles 34-25 in the game. When I spoke with Coach Wireman after the game, he told me that he didn't think that the Lady Eagles had ever been out-rebounded during the season.
Wednesday, marked the last game for the Phillip Wireman as the head coach of Johnson Central. After the game, I expected to see the tears flowing once again, just like the 15th Region Championship game over at the Expo Center, but this time he was a little more reserved. In the post game, Wireman admitted that he was dissapointed with the effort of his team, but was proud of his girls and the way they played the 2008-09 season.
When I left Coach Wireman to get back to his team, he took one final seat at E.A. Diddle Arena. He sat quietly in the empty arena contemplating his many years as head coach of Johnson Central and his 5 trips to state.