45th District basketball: Danville girls beat Boyle 42-29

Published 4:28 pm Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Not that long ago, the Danville girls didn’t think they could get to the regional tournament. Now they’re on their way.

The Lady Admirals capped a late-season turnaround and punched their ticket to the 12th Region Tournament on Tuesday night by rallying to beat Boyle County 42-29 in a 45th District Tournament semifinal at Garrard Middle School.

Written off as a rebuilding team when the season began and still well under .500 a month ago, they turned things around in the final weeks of the season to reach the district finals for the sixth straight year.

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“We talked about it in the locker room at the beginning of the season. We didn’t really know where we’d be at,” Danville guard Myla Turner said. “We knew we had to rebuild … and we didn’t have a lot of confidence, but throughout the season we’ve learned with each other and gained a lot of confidence.”

Danville (15-14) will try to add to its string of four consecutive district championships Friday when it faces Danville Christian in the title game. The Lady Admirals have defeated DCA in the past two district finals.

Coach Judie Mason said she didn’t expect her team to be in this position just a few weeks ago.

“About a month and a half ago, I was quitting on them and they were quitting on me and we hated each other and we were all done,” Mason said. “We hit that wall, and it was either we’ve got to start playing or we’re going to take it and be like everybody thought we would.”

Danville won seven of its last eight regular-season games, beginning with an overtime win over Boyle on Feb. 6.

Tayvionna Caldwell scored 10 points to lead a balanced offensive attack for the third-seeded Lady Admirals in this win, but it was defense that carried the day. Danville held the second-seeded Lady Rebels to three field goals and only 10 points in the second half.

“We guarded the 3-point line,” Mason said. “The first time we played them (in a Jan. 20 loss, Boyle’s Addison Yates) hit six 3s. … Our whole defense was to stop Payton (Bugg) from penetrating and to stop Yates.”

Yates hit two 3s, and neither she nor her teammates could get going from outside. Boyle (19-12) was 4 for 29 from 3-point range and shot just 21 percent overall.

Danville, which defeated KSD 80-6 in a first-round game Monday, trailed Boyle 7-2 less than three minutes into the game but stayed close and scored the last four points of the first half to pull within 19-17.

The Lady Admirals opened the second half with nine straight points, including five by Caldwell, to take a 26-19 lead. Boyle rallied to within two points but trailed by seven again when the fourth quarter began.

The Lady Rebels went without a field goal for more than 10 minutes, by which time Danville built a 37-27 lead with 2:16 to play.

Alayah Quisenberry had eight points and Turner and Anye Thompson had seven each for Danville, which shot 48 percent from the field. Turner and Nemeah Jackson had six rebounds each; Caldwell had five.

Yates and Maggie Burke scored eight points each and Payton Bugg and Kennedy Bugg had six rebounds each to lead Boyle, which had its highest win total since the 2017-18 season in its first year under coach Brian Britt.