The Wayne County Lady Cardinals met McCreary Central, last Monday night at the Southwestern High School Gym in the opening round of the 48th District Tournament.  The Lady Cards entered with a 15-13 record overall and were coming off a disappointing 57-53 home loss to Pulaski County, to end their regular season.  McCreary Central owned a 10-18 mark on the season and was coming off a 52-51 win at 13th Region foe Barbourville.  The teams met twice in the regular season with the Lady Raiders winning at Wayne County 60-49 on December 12 and the Lady Cards repaid the favor two months later with a 72-45 win at Raider Gym.

    The winner would advance to face host Southwestern on Thursday night 
in the championship game.
    Wayne County jumped out to a 19-11 first quarter lead and pushed the 
lead to 51-25 by halftime, racing to an 86-61 opening round win. 
Macey Blevins led three Lady Cards in double figures with a game high 
24 points with a game high 7 assists, plus grabbed 5 rebounds, while 
Mallory Campbell totaled 19 points with a game high 16 rebounds. 
Blevins, a 5-10 junior, was 10 of 19 overall from the field, which 
included 2 of 6 from 3-point range and made 2 of 4 free throw attempts.
    Campbell was 8 of 16 from the floor and 3 of 4 from the charity 
stripe, while senior Haleigh Criswell was 5 of 7 from the field, 
which included 2 of 4 from 3-point range to add 12 points with 3 
boards and 3 assists, as the winners improved to 16-13 on the season.
    "We shot the ball extremely well early and got off to a fast start, 
which was a big key in this game.  Macey was very solid on both ends 
of the floor, and Mallory finished around the basket and dominated 
the backboards.  Haleigh was big early and hit some clutch buckets, 
plus we had a lot of girls step in and play well.  This was a really 
good win against a very dangerous McCreary Central team and these 
survivors bracket games can be ugly.  We played well enough 
offensively that covered up for some of our defensive mistakes," said 
Lady Cards head coach Mark McKinley.
    Junior guard Jade Turner added a solid effort in the win totaling 9 
points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals, while Kenzie Upchurch was 
a perfect 4 of 4 from the floor to add 9 points off the bench.  Amber 
Jones netted 4 points and Mariah Bowlin contributed 3 points with 3 
boards and 3 assists, as Wayne County enjoyed a 42-21 rebounding 
    "We shot the ball well and as always a big key in this game was 
rebounding and we really did an outstanding job on the backboards, 
limiting their second chance points.  Defensively our intensity and 
attention to detail has to be better, as 61 points is way too many 
points to allow, but we also were able to substitute most of the 
fourth quarter.  We know the intensity and physicality will be much 
different on Thursday but credit this bunch for taking care of 
business in a high-pressure game," said McKinley.
    Taylor Boston chipped in with 3 points, Xaviea West scored 2 points 
and Sydney Alley finished with 1 point, as ten different Wayne County 
players marked the scoring column.
    McCreary Central, which posted their first double-digit win season 
in 5-years dropped to 10-19, placed three scorers in double digits 
led by the 22 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists of senior guard Ally 
Anderson.  The stalwart was 6 of 19 overall from the floor and 6 of 9 
from the free throw line, while junior Elizabeth Anderson added 15 
points and a team best 6 rebounds.  The 5-9 junior was 6 of 13 from 
the field and 3 of 4 from the free throw line, while seventh grader 
Corinne Trammell provided a spark off the bench with 13 points and 4 
boards, finishing a perfect 5 of 5 from the floor and 2 of 3 from the 
foul line.
    Kennedy Creekmore chipped in with 4 points and Celya Kiser scored 2 
points, as six different Lady Raiders scored in the contest.
    Wayne County opened 8 of 16 from the field and used the 6 points of 
Mallory Campbell and 5 points of Haleigh Criswell to claim a 19-11 
first quarter edge.
    The Lady Cards were 10 of 14 from the floor in the second stanza and 
connected on 3 of 4 3-pointers to spark a 32-14 run and enjoy a 51-25 
halftime lead.
    Eight different Lady Cards scored in the period led by the 12 points 
of Macey Blevins, while McCreary Central was paced by the 11 points 
of Ally Anderson and 10 points of Elizabeth Anderson at intermission.
    Wayne County shot over 70 percent from the floor in the middle 
quarters used 8 more points by Blevins in the third frame to use a 
25-18 tilt to own a 76-43 lead after 24 minutes of play.
    Reserves dominated the final minutes as the Lady Raiders ended the 
game with an 18-10 surge, which left the final score at 86-61.
    Wayne County finished 35 of 64 overall from the field for 55 percent 
and that included a 7 of 17 clip from 3-point range for 41 percent. 
The winners marked on 9 of 13 free throw attempts for 69 percent and 
totaled 18 assists with 6 steals against 10 turnovers.
    McCreary Central countered with 21 of 51 shooting overall for 41 
percent and that included a 7 of 19 mark from 3-point range for 37 
    The squad made 12 of 18 free throw attempts for 67 percent and 
tallied 7 assists with 5 steals against 10 turnovers.
    Up next for the Lady Cards was a Thursday night showdown with host 
Southwestern in the championship game, details on that are in a related story inside this Outlook.

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