Photo by Amity Kelsch: Nicole Archibald goes for a reverse layup guarded by Lexi Young
The Lady Royals had won 13 straight games over Bracken County. Bracken’s last win was in the 2014 39th District Championship in Brooksville. According to WFTM, Mason County also ended their 35-game win streak of district opponents.
Mason County started off the game scoring quickly, putting up 12 points just under 3 minutes into the game. They were up 12-6 over Bracken at the 5:17 mark in the first quarter.
The Lady Royals led at the end of the first quarter 14-10.
Sarah Payne was 4/7 from three in the game, leading the Lady Royals with 13 points. She got two fouls early, though, and had to sit a majority of the half quarter.
“I thought she started out really good, she knocked down a couple threes for us,” said Mason County coach Paula Buser. “Then she got into foul trouble, and we had to sit her for the whole first half and that really hurt us.”
Two minutes into the second quarter, Ella Johnson hit a three to put Bracken within 1, and later tied the game at the 4:32 mark.
Coach Buser said “I thought starting out we did a really good job and then everything started falling apart. We didn’t have the defensive pressure we needed and then we couldn’t knock down shots and quit attacking.”
Mason County only scored 2 points in the second quarter. The Lady Bears took a 17-16 lead with 1:32 left in the half on an in-bounds pass under the basket to Lexi Brooks.
Bracken County coach Archibald said about his team’s defense: “I think our team can beat about anybody we go up against right now. Our defense has been really good and that’s where you win most of your games. We came away with a win tonight because of our defense.”
Bracken would keep the lead for the rest of the game, going into halftime up 19-16 after Nicole Archibald’s reverse layup (seen in the picture above).
Bracken County led at the end of three quarters, 28-22, outscoring the Lady Royals 9-6 in the frame.
Now, the Lady Bears needed to close the game out, which they failed to do last meeting where they led the entire game but got out-scored 9-0 in the 4th, giving up the lead for just two minutes.
Bracken County got up to a 34-23 lead late in the fourth quarter. However, Mason County went on a 9-4 run to get it back within 6 with under a minute left.
“We almost got beat late at the end because we quit playing. Again, we’ve been playing not to lose instead of playing to win. Instead of playing the same game that got us the lead we get complacent,” said Coach Archibald.
Bracken County would hold onto the lead, ending the Lady Royals’ hot streak over the Lady Polar Bears. It was an off night for both teams. Combined they shot 24/91 from the field and 6/38 from three.
“It was a big-time game, and we just couldn’t get settled in,” said Troy Archibald. “We took some bad shots and tried to make stuff happen that wasn’t there.”
“It’s a district opponent, they come out with a win, we come out with a loss. We know going into the district tournament we’re going to play Bracken, St. Patrick, or Augusta, and we’re going to have our work cut out for us the next several weeks with the caliber of teams we play,” said Coach Buser.
Mason County has Notre Dame and George Rogers Clark on the road coming up next. Bracken County will host St. Patrick on Tuesday night.
The 39th District Tournament draw will take place on Thursday, February 9th at 11:00 am.
Bracken County (38) – Nicole Archibald 13, Macie Sharp 7, Lexi Brooks 7, Brianna Bauer 6, Ella Johnson 5.
Mason County (32) – Sarah Payne 13, Avery Sims 5, Macey Littleton 5, Lexi Young 4, Sedaya Thomas 3, Laci Burns 2.
Field Goals: Bracken 9/46 (19.6%),
Threes: Bracken 2/17 (11.8%), Mason 4/21 (19.0%).
Free Throws: Bracken 12/24 (50.0%), Mason 10/20 (50.0%).
Rebounds: Bracken 44, Mason 29
Assists: Bracken 7, Mason 5
Steals: Bracken 4, Mason 10
Turnovers: Bracken 20, Mason 12
Fouls: Bracken 17, Mason 18