Danville girls edge DCA; Both teams eye All “A” rematch
Published 4:02 am Tuesday, January 10, 2023
BY MIKE MARSEE
Both the Danville and Danville Christian girls are hungry to return to the All “A” Classic, and each is blocking the other’s path once again.
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The two teams face off Tuesday night in a 12th Region All “A” Classic semifinal only five days after they felt each other out in the first of at least three meetings this season.
Danville won round one, rallying from 17 points down in the first quarter to defeat DCA 58-52 on Thursday night in a battle between what are expected to be the top two teams in the 45th District.
And Tuesday’s rematch, which will be played at Somerset Christian, wasn’t far from the minds of anyone on the floor or the bench.
“It has to be in your mind,” Danville coach Judie Mason said. “When we (drew) them in the All ‘A’ we’d already scheduled this game. … But it also gave us a look at them and them a look at us, so now we’ll see how the adjustments are.”
Danville has been a fixture in the statewide small-school tournament, with eight appearances in the past 10 seasons. But the Lady Admirals haven’t been to Richmond, the tourney’s longtime location, in the past two years.
A bracket altered by the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to play a first-round game on another team’s floor in 2021, and their first-ever loss to Danville Christian kept them away in 2022.
“We’ve talked about this since we got beat last year, to be honest. The All ‘A’ is a big stage for us to get to play on,” Mason said.
DCA discovered that stage last year, qualifying for the statewide All ‘A’ in its third year of participation and its fourth season of KHSAA play, and coach Billy Inmon said the Lady Warriors would like to have another taste.
“I asked them early on in the season … ‘What are your expectations?’ and one of the things that they want to do is get back there. It was a great experience for them, and we’re a much better team than we were last year.”
Love Mays scored 27 points to lead visiting Danville (14-1, 2-0 district) over DCA for the first of three wins in three days. The Lady Admirals followed their comeback victory with wins over Garrard County and Ballard for three wins in a 41-hour span.
They trailed the Lady Warriors 24-7 at the end of the first quarter but outscored them 16-0 in the second after DCA center Grace Mbugua got in foul trouble.
Danville took its first lead at 41-40 early in the fourth quarter and outscored DCA 17-8 over the final 5:21, once again with Mbugua, who had 15 points and 20 rebounds, on the bench.
Mays and Samantha Bottom had 10 rebounds each for Danville.
Paisley Metz scored 13 points to lead DCA (9-2, 2-1). The Lady Warriors played without point guard Alexia Baldock, who was in an auto accident earlier in the week but returned Saturday in their 62-57 win over Madison Southern.
DCA and Danville met four times last season, with Danville winning three games. They will play Feb. 3 at Danville, and perhaps again in the district and regional tournaments.
“They’re going to be battles,” Inmon said.
Tuesday’s game won’t decide the All “A” regional champion. The winner is expected to face another challenge from Somerset in Friday’s regional final.
“It’s going to be a battle. Somerset, DCA and us are all pretty good,” Mason said.
Danville Christian 66, Danville 58
The DCA boys would also like another shot at the All “A” after making their first appearance last season, and they also play Danville on Tuesday in a regional semifinal.
“It definitely got us excited,” DCA coach Don Story said. “We really enjoyed the experience, and that’s a fun tournament, so obviously we’d like to go back.”
The Warriors scored 16 of the game’s last 24 points over the final 5:16 to pull away from a 50-all tie and defeat Danville on Thursday.
Titus Boyd and Emmanuel Dut scored 14 points each to lead four players in double figures for DCA (11-5, 2-1 district), which extended a winning streak to four games before falling to Wayne County 53-44 on Saturday.
Noah Imfeld hit two 3-pointers during an 8-0 run that put the Warriors on top to stay in the fourth quarter.
Owen Barnes led Danville (12-5, 0-2) with 19 points.