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Second half propels Lady Knights to 5th Region finals

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By Jessica Veatch and Josh Veatch

In the semifinal game of the 5th Region Tournament on Sunday night against Elizabethtown, Marion County found themselves in a position they hadn’t been in all season. At the half, the Lady Knights trailed 26-25, their first halftime deficit of the year. In the second half, the Lady Knights offense got on track and the team began to pull away. In the end, Marion County advanced with a 65-43 win.
It was apparent from early in the game that Elizabethtown had a game plan and was going to stick to it. Marion County was able to get out to an 8-2 early lead, but the Lady Panthers fought back. Elizabethtown took the lead late in the opening quarter at 11-10 before Haeli Howard and Makayla Epps scored the final five points for the Lady Knights. Heading into the second quarter, Marion County was up 15-11.
Early in the second quarter, the Lady Knights were able to maintain their lead.  After a pair of free throws from Logan Powell with 4:17 left in the first half made the score 23-15 in favor of Marion County, the Lady Knights offense stalled out. Over the final half of the second quarter, the team was only able to manage one field goal late in the period. Over that same time span, Elizabethtown had fought to get back in the game.  A late free throw by the Lady Panthers made the halftime score 26-25, which marked the first time this season that Marion County had trailed a game at the half.
Elizabethtown scored the opening bucket of the second half to push its lead to three points. Over the remainder of the period, the Lady Panthers were only able to muster one more field goal as the Lady Knights began to pull away. A 15-0 run by Marion County propelled them to a 40-28 lead with just over two minutes left in the third quarter. The Lady Knights were pulling away as the period ended and were ahead 45-30 heading into the final frame.
In the fourth quarter, Marion County put the game out of reach. A 14-2 run midway through the quarter gave the Lady Knights their biggest lead of the game at 65-37 with just under a minute remaining. Marion County went on to win the game by a final score of 65-43 and advance to the regional championship game.
Marion County Head Coach Trent Milby discussed the Lady Knights difficulties in the first half.
“We just missed shots and Elizabethtown played well,” he said. “You have to give them credit. In the second half we played tremendous defense and that is what got us going and advanced us to Tuesday night.”

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Marion Co.       15 10 20 20 – 65
Elizabethtown  11 15   4 13 – 43
Marion County (34-0): Makayla Epps 21, Kyvin Goodin-Rogers 15, Patrice Tonge 9, Alexus Calhoun 9, Logan Powell 6, Haeli Howard 3, Evelyn Taylor 2
Elizabethtown (23-8): Erin Boley 14, Reauna Cleaver 12, Alexis Powell 6, Darien Huff 4, Anna Bowling 4, Rachel Warden 3

Marion County vs. Washington County
The Marion County Lady Knights began play in the 5th region girls’ basketball tournament at Green County High School Thursday against the Washington County Commanderettes. After defeating the Commanderettes twice earlier in the season, 72-17 and 70-19, Marion County had little trouble completing the season sweep.  Marion County was in control from the opening tip and cruised to an easy 87-23 victory to advance to the semifinals of the tournament.  
“We came out and played a well-rounded game,” Milby said. “Haeli Howard sparked us in the first half.”

Wash. Co.        2 10  4   7 – 23
Marion Co.     28 28 18 13 – 87
Washington County (16-14): Kenya Turner 11, Riquel Logan 5, Jennifer Keene 4, Jadeisha Durham 3
Marion County (33-0): Haeli Howard 22, Patrice Tonge 17, Alexus Calhoun 15, Makayla Epps 13, Kyvin Goodin-Rogers 7, Logan Powell 4, Jordan Thomas 4, Ambrasia Adams 3, Colleen Rakes 2