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The Marion County High School Lady Knights basketball team opened up regular season play with three games last week, and they lived up to their preseason No. 1 state ranking by defeating their opponents by an average of 44 points. “Defense, rebounding and playing team basketball are the reasons we have won all three games this week with a running clock,” Head Coach Trent Milby said. “If we continue to do those three things, we will be hard to beat.”
In the opening game of the season against George Rogers Clark, the team blew the Lady Cardinals away early by leading 33-1 after the first quarter. Marion County went on to win the second and third quarters, and came up even in the final frame. At the half, the Lady Knights were up 45-9 and went on to cruise to an easy 66-20 season opening win.
Marion County 33 12 14 7 – 66
George Rogers Clark 1 8 4 7 – 20
Marion County (1-0): Makayla Epps 16, Kyvin Goodin-Rogers 13, Patrice Tonge 10, Alexus Calhoun 10, Haeli Howard 4, Kaylee Wheatley 3
The junior varsity team was also in action in Winchester against George Rogers Clark. The JV Lady Knights also came up with a win by a final score of 36-28. The team was led by Kendyl Powell who came off the bench to lead the team with 12 points off the bench.
Marion County 9 7 9 11 - 36
George Rogers Clark 2 10 7 9 – 28
Marion County: Kendyl Powell 12, Haeli Howard 10, Ambrasia Adams 5, Katelyn Daugherty 3, Kaylee Wheatley 3, TT Adams 2, Kristen Mattingly 1
Friday night, the Lady Knights held the home opener by taking on Nelson County in the Roby Dome. Once again, Marion County exploded early and broke the game open. An 11-0 run in the opening frame allowed the Lady Knights to expand their lead to 24-7 after one period. Senior Makayla Epps led the Lady Knights with an impressive 16 points in the opening frame.
The onslaught continued into the second quarter. Marion County opened up the period with 10 straight points to expand their lead to 27 points with 5:37 left in the first half. Thirty-two points was the margin at the half as the Lady Knights were in complete control with a score of 46-14.
Epps finished her night in the third quarter after totaling up 28 points. The Lady Knights continued to expand the lead to 69-16 at the end of the period as six different Marion County players scored.
Nelson County got some offense going in the final frame, but it was too little too late. Junior Alexus Calhoun led the way for the Lady Knights in the final frame with four points as Marion County went on to win by a final score of 77-28.
“The girls were really focused and played tremendous defense in the Nelson County game,” Milby said. “We want to speed the game up as much as possible and force outside shots, get the rebound, and push. They played very unselfish and shared the ball and it was a total team effort.”
Nelson County 7 7 2 12 - 28
Marion County 24 22 23 8 – 77
Nelson County (1-1): Brianna Harmon 7, Alyssa Johnston 7, Cierra Drake 4, Kaylee Hall 4, Megan Williams 2, Lakin Walls 2, Laura Linton 2
Marion County (2-0): Makayla Epps 28, Kyvin Goodin-Rogers 15, Patrice Tonge 11, Alexus Calhoun 9, Logan Powell 8, Colleen Rakes 5, Ambrasia Adams 1
The JV Lady Knights also took on the JV Lady Cardinals Friday night. Nearing the end of a close game, Jordan Thomas stepped to the line to nail two free throws to tie the game at 33 and force overtime.
Once again Thomas came through for the Lady Knights as she tied the game at 39 with just over a minute left in overtime and again at 43 with three seconds left to force a second overtime. Thomas came to the rescue again as she hit a shot to put the Lady Knights up 48-47 with just under a minute left in the second overtime.
After a Nelson County free throw tied the game at 48, Ambrasia Adams stepped to the line with a chance to win the game for Marion County. With just 0.9 seconds on the clock, Adams had two free throws. After missing the first, she nailed the second to seal the exciting 49-48 double overtime win.
Nelson County 12 10 7 4 10 5 – 48
Marion County 15 6 6 6 10 6 – 49
Marion County: Haeli Howard 15, Jordan Thomas 13, Ambrasia Adams 10, Kaylee Wheatley 4, Kristen Mattingly 4, Samantha Daugherty 2, Kendyl Powell 1
In their final game of the week, Marion County headed to Liberty to take on the Casey County Lady Rebels. Marion County reeled off 26 first quarter points to hold an 11-point advantage after one quarter.
The second quarter was a mirror image of the first for the Lady Knights as they scored 26 more points. At the half, Marion County led the game 52-24.
The third quarter was controlled by Marion County. The Lady Knights won the period by 11 points, and led 69-30 heading into the final frame.
Not much offense was mustered by either team as only eight points were scored between the two teams. Marion County went on to win the game by a final score of 72-35 and improve to 3-0 over their first week of play.
“We played well in spurts,” Milby said. “I thought we were a little sluggish at times, but once we get going we can put points on the board. We scored 52 points in the first half, so the girls are really focusing in on the job at hand and playing at a high level.”
Marion County 26 26 17 3 – 72
Casey County 15 9 6 5 – 35
Marion County (3-0): Makayla Epps 30, Alexus Calhoun 14, Kyvin Goodin-Rogers 12, Patrice Tonge 8, Logan Powell 6, Colleen Rakes 2
Casey County (1-2)
The JV Lady Knights also played Casey County Saturday. Marion County controlled the first period and led by 10 points. However, Casey County outscored the JV Lady Knights by nine points to only trail by one-point at the halftime break.
Both teams scored five points in the third period as the game remained nearly even. Marion County pulled away in the final frame and outscored their opponent by seven points to secure the 35-27 win.
Marion County 13 2 5 15 – 35
Casey County 3 11 5 8 – 27
Marion County: Kendyl Powell 8, Samantha Daugherty 6, Jordan Thomas 6, Haeli Howard 6, Ambrasia Adams 6, Kaylee Wheatley 2, Kristen Mattingly 1
The Lady Knights and Milby know they have a pair of tough games this week. Last night the team hit the road to take on Adair County, a place where they have had some difficulties, according to Milby.
“It’s a district game on the road,” he said. “Over the past few years during regular season, we haven’t played our best. We’ve got to be focused in and take care of business. We will get everybody’s best shot every night.”
On Saturday, Marion County will take on its first ranked opponent of the season in Madison Central. Last year, Marion County went to Richmond and cruised to a 64-30 victory over the Lady Indians.
This time, the game will be at the Roby Dome and Milby knows he will have to contain two specific players.
“Madison Central has two division one players,” he said. “Larryn Brooks signed with Indiana and Ashton Feldhaus signed with Butler. Both of them are very good players, and it will be a good test for us on Saturday night.”