Hopkins County Central entered Friday night’s game looking to take advantage of a few firsts. The Lady Storm entered the game against Bell County looking to win its first Class 2A State Tournament contest in its first appearance against an unfamiliar opponent, Bell County. In a battle between two teams from opposite ends of the state, the Lady Storm looked to carry the momentum from the Sectional Championship game against Union County. In the end, a strong second half for the Lady Bobcats was too much for the Lady Storm to handle. They fell to the Lady Bobcats by a final score of 78-51.
Central’s Mercy Sutton started of the game with the hot hand. Sutton started the scoring for the Lady Storm and scored 5 of the first 7 points. Two blocks by Brooklyn Clark led to two easy baskets on the other end for Kire Peyton. Bell County was forced to call a time out with 4:11 to go in the first quarter as the Lady Storm led 9-4. Following the timeout, Bell County went on a short run to bring the score within one on a Nadine Johnson bucket. At the end of the first quarter, the Lady Bobcats trailed the Lady Storm by a score of 12-11.
The Lady Bobcats benefited from several back tips and steals to challenge in the second quarter. Gracie Jo Wilder from Bell County jumped the passing lane on multiple occasions that led to baskets by Nadine Johnson. Central led by as many as 7 in the quarter, punctuated by a Brooklyn Clark “and 1.” The Lady Bobcats battled back and took the lead on a three point shot by Lauren McGeorge, bringing the score to 32-29. Both teams chipped in a few more baskets bringing the score to 36-31 in favor of the Lady Bobcats. The Lady Storm were led in the first half by Mercy Sutton with 7 points but spread the wealth. Emile Jones and Briana Fritz both poured in 6 points while Kire Peyton and Brooklyn Clark both had 5 in the first half.
The second half of the contest was all Lady Bobcats. Hopkins County Central struggled against the Bell County press and were unable to find much success from the field. Turnovers ultimately were the thorn in HCCHS’ side as Bell County was able to take advantage for several quick transition baskets. Although the second half was a struggle for the Lady Storm, Briana Fritz provided one of the highlights for the half, converting on an “and 1” attempt to bring the Storm within 20. Emile Jones found the bottom of the net from behind the 3 point line late in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough as Central fell in the first round at the Class 2A State tournament.
Mercy Sutton was selected to the All-Tournament team after her 11 point, 11 rebound performance. The loss is a tough bookend to the end of a great tournament run for the Lady Storm. They will look to rebound Monday against District 7 rival Caldwell County in the first game of a boy/girl double header starting at 6 pm in Mortons Gap.
1 2 3 4
HCC 12 31 37 51
BC 11 36 61 78
HCC- Jones 16, Clark 5, Fritz 10, Sutton 11, Peyton 5, Mason 4.
BC-Wilder 17, Johnson 21, Ausmus 10, Meyers 9, McGeorge 10, Mills 4, Kerns 2, Jones 2, Hoskins 3