Casey County wins battle of Rebels in 12th Region tournament

Published 11:24 pm Monday, February 26, 2018

STANFORD — In their first-ever region tournament game, Casey County girls took care of business.

The Rebels from Liberty took down Boyle County 65-47 in the first round of the 12th Region tournament at Lincoln County High School on Monday.

Casey starts four sophomores, and it’s the first region tournament win since 2013 for the program. But in the first half, Boyle gave Casey all it wanted.

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Casey led by double figures early in the first quarter before settling down and taking a 24-23 lead in the second quarter.

At halftime, it was a two-point game: Casey 27, Boyle 25.

“In the second quarter, we just totally went to sleep, put it on cruise control,” Casey head coach Tara Weddle said. “We kept shooting outside when we weren’t hitting outside. We have to get in the habit of getting to the rim when we’re not hitting those outside shots. At halftime, you get mad and fuss, then you settle it down. It’s tournament time, they’re going to make runs, you’re going to make runs, you’ve just got to ride the wave and finish the game.”

Casey came out with a flourish in the third quarter, hitting four threes — two from Gena Cravens and two from Myla McGowan. Boyle had just six points in the entire third quarter.

“We were right there, it was a two point game there at halftime,” Boyle head coach Greg Edwards said. “The press hurt us there to start the game, but once we settled down, we got the ball across midcourt and ran our offense. We were scoring. But that third quarter just killed us. We came out, for whatever reason, and just didn’t have any energy. We scored six points in the quarter. You can’t do that and expect to beat a team that’s as good as they are. We got outscored 18-6 there. There’s the ball game.”

Casey led 45-31 after three quarters, and while Boyle put up 16 points in the final eight minutes, it wasn’t enough to stop Casey’s balanced scoring attack. Casey had six different players score in the final frame to finish the game.

“The biggest thing was rebounding: I think at halftime they were out-rebounding us and we ended up out-rebounding them at the end of the game,” Weddle said. “That’s the key against teams that are that big.”

Casey finished with four players in double figures: Cravens led the way with 13 points and fellow sophomores Lauren Lee and Jordy Stephens each scored 11, while senior Myla McGowan had 10.

Edwards said the focus going in was to limit three-point opportunities for Cravens, but that didn’t happen in the third quarter.

“We did a great job (in the first half), but in the third quarter, we over-rotated and lost sight of where No. 22 was,” Edwards said. “She killed us there. She made two threes in a row, we were so far out of position, we couldn’t have gotten to her if we wanted. That’s just not playing the scouting report, scouting report was that we couldn’t let her breathe.”

Weddle said it’s the second game that teams have tried to limit Cravens, but her calm helps the rest of the team stay calm through opposing runs.

“This is the second game we’ve played in a row that they’ve tried to deny Gena the ball,” Weddle said. “She did a really good job about not letting it take her out of the game. I think that confidence and her staying calm allows her to get open. She’s always been our calm in the storm, because it doesn’t matter what they throw at her. Even if she’s not shooting well, she didn’t shoot well in the first half, she’s always going to remain calm and finish the game and do the things that we need.”

Boyle senior Danielle Roney scored six points in the fourth quarter and scored a game-high 16 points.

“We were just playing from behind. We scrambled around, tried to do some different things to catch up, but a lot of the things with our limited speed, it was hard to run some of that stuff,” Edwards said. “But that’s what you’ve got to do to catch up, gamble and rotate. But they were too good for that, their ballhandlers were good.”

Boyle County’s season ends with a 20-9 record, and the Rebels will lose two key starters to graduation: Roney and Gracie Edmiston.

“Two girls over 1,000 points,” Edwards said. “Danielle’s the leading rebounder in school history. We’ve lost 5,000 points in three years now. The fact that we won 20 games this year, 20-9, that’s pretty daggone good, considering the fact that we’ve lost all those points. These two seniors, they played their hearts out. They did everything that they could do. Next year, some of those younger girls will need to step up. That’s a big void to lose two 1,000 point scorers.”

It’s the first time since 2013 that Casey has won a region tournament game, and there’s reason to believe more will come: Casey starts four sophomores and has just one senior on the roster. But Weddle’s team has a huge challenge on Friday against Southwestern in the region semifinals. The Warriors beat Casey 53-47 on Jan. 25 in the only meeting between the two teams this year.

“We didn’t know much about Boyle County, all we had was film because we didn’t play them in the season,” Weddle said. “I think they will be a little more relaxed and definitely more focused. This is our sophomores’ first region tournament. It’s a different breed than a district tournament. I think and hope that it got their feet wet and they’ll be ready to play Friday night. They’ll have to be ready to play Friday.”


Box score


12th Region quarterfinals

At Lincoln County


CASEY COUNTY 19 8 18 20 65

BOYLE COUNTY 14 11 6 16 47



CASEY (25-6, 13-3): Gena Cravens 13, Lauren Lee 11, Natalie Duggins 11, Myla McGowan 10, Haley Brock 8, Jordyn Stephens 6, Shaylah Wilkey 3, Mackenzie Cundiff 3.

BOYLE (20-9, 9-6): Danielle Roney 16, McKayla Baker 10, Gracie Edmiston 9, Rachel Leath 5, Kasey McGirr 4, Lauren Steinhauer 2, Keely Bowling 2.