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The Marion County Lady Knights varsity girls basketball team traveled to Pickerington, Ohio Dec. 28-30 to participate in the 2010 Key Bank Holiday Classic, a prestigious tournament that featured top ranked teams from Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. During the tournament, the Lady Knights played three games, with their opponents being the Walsh Jesuit Lady Warriors in the first round, the Twinsburg Lady Tigers in the second round, and the Blackman Lady Blaze in the third and final round of action. The locals ended up with a record of 2-1 in the tournament, defeating the Walsh Jesuit and Blackman teams, and losing to the Twinsburg team, coming in third place out of the eight-team field.
“Playing tough competition gets the players and coaches mentally prepared for what it will be like in March,” Head Coach Trent Milby said. “Going into the season, I said several times that all I am worried about is the end of the season and having the team mentally and physically fresh but challenged during the entire season. People look at losing and say, ‘What is wrong with the Lady Knights?’ Nothing is wrong with the Lady Knights. In fact, we are getting better.”
Milby said he thought the Lady Knights played better as a team and were more focused in Ohio.
“Six of the eight teams in that tourney would be top 20 teams in Kentucky, with at least two of them in the top three,” he said. “We definitely got better as a team these past two weeks even with the losses. We are losing to top five teams in Kentucky and also the No. 1 team in Ohio. We had a chance to win all 3.”
Junior Bre Elder and sophomore Makayla Epps were selected to the All-Tournament team for their performances in this tournament.
Girls win final game
On Thursday of last week, in the third and final round of action, the Lady Knights played the Blackman Lady Blaze.
Blackman is a team from Murfreesboro, Tenn., and they are currently ranked 10th in the state of Tennessee. In a relatively low scoring affair, the Lady Knights held off a late surge from the Lady Blaze to pick up their second victory of the tournament, with a final score of 47-39.
In the first quarter, the lead was exchanged seven times between the two teams, with neither team leading by more than three points in the period.
Sophomore Kyvin Goodin-Rogers scored seven of the team’s 11 points in the opening frame, which helped the Lady Knights to an 11-8 lead. The two teams combined to score only 15 points in the uneventful second quarter. In this period, there were four combined field goals and Marion County added seven free throws to hold a six-point halftime advantage of 20-14.
After the halftime break, the two teams traded baskets throughout the first five and a half minutes of the third period.
Nearing the end of the frame, sophomores Makayla Epps and Patrice Tonge each nailed three point goals to give the Lady Knights a 10-point advantage with a score of 32-22 at the end of the quarter.
Blackman started the fourth quarter on a 7-2 run to close the gap to five points at 34-29 with 4:47 remaining. However, that is as close as the Lady Blaze could get, and the Lady Knights stretched the lead back to 11 points with 0:27 remaining.
Blackman added a three-point field goal at the end of the final period to give Marion County an eight-point victory with a final score of 47-39.
Marion County 11 9 12 15 - 47
Blackman, Tenn. 8 6 8 17 - 39
Marion County (9-3): Bre Elder 13, Makayla Epps 13, Kyvin Goodin-Rogers 10, Patrice Tonge 8, Coco May 2, Shakila Goodin 1
Blackman (10-3): Amy Duke 15, Tiera Norris 6, Kelsey Nowlin 6, Kortnay Cox 5, Katie Smith 4, Micah Norris 3
Lady Tigers defeat Lady Knights
The Lady Knights took on the Twinsburg Lady Tigers on Wednesday of last week in the second round of the Key Bank Holiday Classic.
The Lady Tigers currently hold the 39th spot in the national rankings of high school girls basketball and feature a top 20 national recruit in junior Malina Howard. After a close game throughout the first quarter, Twinsburg was able to pull away from Marion County and defeat them by 14 points, with a final score of 56-42.
In the first quarter, Marion County was able to stay within striking distance, only trailing by four points at the end of the frame. A Bre Elder field goal with 2:36 remaining gave the Lady Knights their only lead of the game at 6-5.
Twinsburg started the second quarter on a 14-2 run to expand their lead to 17 points with 3:42 left until halftime. Marion County was able to trim the deficit back to 12 points at the halftime break, still trailing 30-18. Sophomore guard Makayla Epps had six of her game high 16 points in this period.
The Twinsburg pressure forced Marion County into multiple turnovers and combined with poor shooting held the Lady Knights to a season low for points in a quarter with five.
Twinsburg outscored Marion County 16-5 in the third period to lead 46-23 at the end of the frame, which matched their biggest lead of the game. In the fourth quarter, the Lady Knights attempted to make a comeback by using a 9-4 run to start the period that cut the deficit to 18 points at 50-32 with 4:37 remaining.
However, the Twinsburg attack was too much and the Lady Knights could draw no closer than 13 points as junior Tessa Simpson nailed a three point goal with 0:44 left in the game. The Lady Tigers, who went on to win the tournament, added a free throw to make the margin of victory 14 points, with a final score of 56-42.
Twinsburg, Ohio 11 19 16 10 - 56 Marion County 7 11 5 19 - 42
Twinsburg (8-0): Malina Howard 18, Katie Fox 9, Nicole Carman 8, Leah Feckho 8, Ashley Morrissette 7, Char-dell Dunnigan 2, LaShawna Gatewood 2, Nichole Mabry 2
Marion County (8-3): Makayla Epps 16, Bre Elder 14, Kyvin Goodin-Rogers 7, Tessa Simpson 3, Shakila Goodin 1, Patrice Tonge 1
Lady Knights win opening round game
On Tuesday of last week, the Lady Knights traveled to Pickerington, Ohio to take part in the 2010 Key Bank Holiday Classic.
Their opening round opponent was the Walsh Jesuit Lady Warriors, a team from Cuyahooga Falls, Ohio. The game was played at Pickerington North High School and Marion County was able to defeat Walsh Jesuit with a final score of 57-52.
In the first quarter, Marion County jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, but Walsh Jesuit came back with an 8-0 run of their own to lead 8-4 with 4:40 left in the period.
The Lady Warriors went on to stretch the lead to seven at 13-6, forcing the Lady Knights to call a timeout with three and a half minutes left in the frame.
Out of the timeout, sophomore guard Makayla Epps hit a three point goal to cut the deficit to four and from that point on, the two teams traded baskets, ending the first quarter with Marion County trailing by a score of 17-13.
The second quarter proved to be a key one for the Lady Knights, with Marion County holding their opponent to a season low four points in the frame.
The Lady Warriors were only able to muster two field goals, one at the 6:20 mark and the other with 0:32 remaining in the period.
Sophomore forward Logan Powell chipped in six of her 13 points in this pivotal quarter, ending with Marion County leading 29-21.
During the first five minutes of the third quarter, Marion County kept Walsh Jesuit at bay but never led by more than seven points.
The Lady Knights went on a 7-0 run ending with sophomore Kyvin Goodin-Rogers’ field goal for her eighth point in the period to expand the lead to 12 with 1:42 remaining. However, the Lady Warriors ended the frame on a 7-2 run of their own, drawing them to within seven points with a score of 44-37.
The fourth quarter went back and forth between the two teams for a majority of the time. Walsh Jesuit went on a 6-0 run with 1:34 remaining to cut the lead to three at 53-50.
Epps nailed four key free throws and senior Shakila Goodin took an important charge down the stretch to seal the victory with the Lady Knights defeating the Lady Warriors 57-52.
Marion County 13 16 15 13 - 57
Walsh Jesuit, OH 17 4 16 15 - 52
Marion County (8-2): Kyvin Goodin-Rogers 14, Makayla Epps 13, Logan Powell 13, Bre Elder 10, Coco May 5, Patrice Tonge 2
Walsh Jesuit (1-6): Courtney Iacobacci 16, Jessa Gilbeto 13, Liz Keeves 8, Annie Hager 7, Mary Kelly 4, Maddie Sheppard 4