The Wayne County Lady Cardinals met top 25 ranked Mercer County, last Tuesday night at Lincoln County High School Gym, in the second night of the opening round of the 12th Region Tournament. The Lady Cards entered the matchup with a 16-14 record and were coming off a 67-54 loss at Southwestern in the finals of the 48th District Tournament. Mercer County owned a 22-8 mark and raced thru the 46th District with a 69-33 championship win over East Jessamine. The teams met just over a month earlier with the Lady Titans rallying for a 59-49 win at the Kenny Davis Classic, at the Rodney C. Woods Gymnasium.
Macey Blevins scored a season high 37 points with 12 rebounds, 3
assists and 3 steals as the Lady Cards lost a first half lead but
rallied back with a 16-11 surge to end the game and claim a 61-57
opening round win. The 5-10 junior was 8 of 13 from the field, which
included 3 of 5 from 3-point range and connected on 18 of 22 free
throw attempts, while logging all 32-minutes as Wayne County notched
just their fourth regional tourney win in 13-seasons to improve to
17-14 on the season.
"We're just so happy for the kids and this program to get a win
against a quality opponent like Mercer County. What can you say
about Macey Blevins she scored 18-points in the first quarter and
just put this team on her back and refused to lose. Big bucket after
big bucket, goes 18 of 22 from the line just an unbelievable
performance on a stage like the regional tournament is just something
I'm not sure anybody will forget. So happy for our team and while we
only had three players score, everybody that played made big
contributions to get the win," said Wayne County head coach Mark
Sophomore forward Mallory Campbell provided a solid two in the one-
two punch with 16 points and 12 rebounds. The 5-11 forward was 5 of
9 from the floor and 6 of 10 from the free throw line, while 5-8
sophomore Kenzie Upchurch provided a spark off the bench with 8
points and 2 rebounds.
Upchurch was 3 of 5 from the field and 2 of 4 from the free throw
line, as the winners advanced to face Rockcastle County in the
semifinals on Friday night.
"Mallory hit some free throws in the second quarter to get some
momentum and confidence and really played well in the second half.
She was strong to the basket and had a double-double, so a big-time
effort. Kenzie made some clutch plays as well and this is such an
exciting time to still be going to practice. This win is like feels
like Christmas for a coach and we'll go back to work and get ready
for a great Rockcastle County team that is playing extremely well,"
Mercer County, which had their season end at 22-9, was led by the 25
points and 3 steals of freshman Anna Kate Drakeford. Drakeford was 9
of 18 from the field and a perfect 6 of 6 from the charity stripe,
while fellow freshman Timberlyn Yeast added 11 points and 5 boards.
Yeast was 5 of 10 from the floor and 1 of 2 from the free throw line,
while senior Channing Lewis was just 2 of 13 from the field and 2 of
2 from the foul line for 6 points with team bests of 10 rebounds, 5
assists and 4 steals. Stevie Shepherd and Love Mays netted 6 points
each and Calicia Smith scored 3 points, as six different Lady Titans
etched the scoring margin.
"Mercer County has a very talented and athletic team, so make no
mistake this was a great win for our kids. We did a nice job on the
defensive end and more than held our own on the backboards, that was
a team effort," said McKinley.
Macey Blevins exploded for the greatest opening quarter possibly in
tourney history with 18 points, finishing 6 of 7 from the field and 3
of 3 from the free throw line as Wayne County claimed a 19-13 first
The Lady Titans responded in the second stanza with five different
scorers and used a 15-10 run to close the gap to 29-28 at intermission.
Mercer County grabbed the lead in the third quarter and used a 10-3
run to push to a 46-40 lead, before Wayne answered with a 5-0 clip of
their own to leave the Lady Titans with a 46-45 edge after 24-minutes
Blevins made 9 of 12 free throw attempts down the stretch and
Mallory Campbell added 6 points, as the Lady Cards ended the game
with a 16-11 surge to claim the opening round win, their first since
Wayne County, which claimed a 33-30 rebounding edge, shot 16 of 32
overall from the field for 50 percent and that included a 3 of 8 mark
from 3-point range for 38 percent. The winners connected on 26 of 36
free throws for 72 percent and totaled 8 assists with 5 steals
against 18 turnovers.
Mercer County was 22 of 57 from the field for 39 percent and that
included a 3 of 14 clip from 3-point range for 21 percent. The squad
converted on 10 of 17 free throw attempts for 59 percent and tallied
11 steals with 5 assists against 9 turnovers.
Up next for the Lady Cards was a regular season rematch with
Rockcastle County, as the Lady Rockets raced past Garrard County
74-56 in the first round and won the regular season matchup on
January 17th 66-61, as Wayne is looking for their first championship
game appearance in 13-years.
Details on the matchup are in a related story inside this edition of The Outlook.
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