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By Nick Schrager
Through a battle a of sweat and tears, the Marion County Lady Knights narrowly lost to the Elizabethtown Panthers in the opening round of the 5th region tournament on Oct. 29.
The Lady Knights remained in lockstep with their opponent throughout the match, but fell, 27-25, 25-20, 25-22.
“I thought we played tough enough to win,” Lady Knights Coach David Hibbard said. “We just didn’t make the plays.”
The Lady Knights (24-12-0) faced the Panthers (26-11-0) three other times this season and were defeated each time.
In the first set of the night, the Lady Knights took a 4-0 lead, but strong serving by the Panthers brought them back in the game fast.
“When you let a team hang around, especially one as good as them, they’re going to come back,” Hibbard said.
Scores of 4-4, 10-10 and 13-12 would leave the fans of both teams biting their nails and screaming hard. The set would go past regulation play to end 27-25 in the Panthers’ favor.
In the second set, the Lady Knights fought hard to keep neck and neck with the Panthers until they fell short with scores of 17-13 and 20-15 near the end of the set.
But they would not go quietly. The Lady Knights, though frustrated, pulled within 22-20 before allowing the Panthers to score three more times for the win.
After trailing 18-12 late in the third set, the Lady Knights briefly took the lead before losing the set and the match.
“When you get to this level, you can’t have as many mistakes as we had tonight,” Hibbard said. “And we had the mistakes tonight, so we just gotta eliminate those and carry on.”
The loss knocked the Lady Knights out of the tournament and ended their season. Hibbard said it is their goal every year to win the regionals but despite that, the Lady Knights are still great in his book.
“I told them back in the locker room, I said ‘I’m so proud of your efforts and proud of your heart,’” Hibbard said.
After defeating the Lady Knights, The Panthers advanced to play against the Green County Dragons (34-6) on Oct. 30 where they fell in three sets. The Dragons would advance to play the Central Hardin Lady Bruins (29-10) on Oct. 31. The Dragons defeated the Lady Bruins and came out as regional champions.