12th Region basketball: DCA girls fight off Wayne for first regional win

Published 5:29 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2024

It was a win the Danville Christian girls could feel good about, even if some of them didn’t feel so good.

The Lady Warriors got the program’s first victory in the 12th Region Tournament on Monday night, fighting off Wayne County to win 61-47 in a first-round game at J.C. Eddelman Gymnasium.

It didn’t come easy, in part because a handful of DCA were under the weather and in part because Wayne gave the Lady Warriors all they could handle.

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“It was not easy,” DCA coach Billy Inmon said. “I didn’t realize how bad they were, but I had three (players) sick. We just scheduled IVs for them. So we’re thankful that we were able to come out with a win because I thought Wayne played pretty good and we were pretty weak.”

Grace Mbugua, one of those who had gotten the illness that made its way through the locker room, fought through fatigue to score 40 points for DCA (27-2), which had lost in the first round of the regional in each of the past two seasons.

“We came in kind of weak, but … we played hard, we finished strong. We (had to) give it our all or else we’d go home,” Mbugua said.

DCA, which had beaten Wayne 60-38 on Feb. 10, trailed throughout the second quarter but took the lead with a strong start to the second half and never let it go.

The Lady Warriors advanced to Friday’s semifinals, where they will play Rockcastle County for a berth in Saturday’s championship game.

“Glory to God for bringing us this far and for an amazing season,” Mbugua said.

DCA shot 56 percent from the field and got 38 points in the paint, including 26 by Mbugua.

“They were going to continue to single-cover (her), and as long as people do that we’re just going to keep feeding her,” Inmon said. “She just powered through and she showed a lot of guts. … I couldn’t be any more proud of her and the whole team.”

Amauri Blackford had 11 points and seven rebounds and Grace Meyer added seven points for DCA, the region’s top-ranked team.

The Lady Warriors held Wayne (14-17) without a 3-point basket in the second half. The Lady Cardinals were 0 for 5 from behind the line after halftime and 4 for 17 overall.

“We told them no 3s in the second half,” Inmon said.

Mbugua scored seven points and Braxtyn Heck scored two in a 9-2 run at the start of the second half that gave DCA, which had trailed 22-16 in the second quarter, a 34-28 lead.

Meanwhile, Wayne went without a field goal for the first 4:30 of the third quarter and never got closer than four points again before the Lady Warriors pulled away in a fourth quarter in which they went 7 for 11 from the field and outrebounded the Lady Cardinals 14-4.

DCA now has three days to recover before its game against Rockcastle (21-11), which advanced with a 51-47 victory over Mercer County.

“We definitely can use that,” Inmon said. “We’ve got to get rest and fluids, so I’m very thankful for this long period off. I can’t tell you how thankful I am.”

DCA defeated Rockcastle 57-43 in its regular-season finale Feb. 22 behind a 20-point performance by Paisley Metz.