LADY BOMBERS HOLD THEIR OWN
The Ballard Memorial Lady Bombers opened the new season with an 80-67 loss to the defending First Region Champion Marshall County Lady Marshalls. The Lady Bombers wanted to give the Green Palace faithful a game to remember on December 3rd, and they may have done just that even without the victory. “I am disappointed we lost, but they played above my expectations,” said first year head coach Kayla Vance. She added, “Not bad for our first game against the number one team in the region.”
Ballard Memorial got the early lead with a pair of Leah Shelley buckets for the 4-3 advantage. The Lady Marshalls would start taking control of the game as they built the lead to 13-7. Kenzie Blackford hit a three pointer from the right corner to cut the lead to three. After back to back points from the Lady Marshalls, Blackford would make a two point basket to trim the lead to 17-12. That is when Marshall County would take command of the game. They would go on a 13-0 run to end the first quarter and to begin the second quarter to claim the 30-12 advantage. The Lady Bombers would trim into the lead. Freshman Tashion Burns scored and she connected on one of two free throw attempts leaving the halftime deficit of 14 at 40-26.
The Lady Marshalls would extend the lead to 20 on a couple of occasions in the 3rd quarter, but Abbi Denton and Burns would score six points each in the quarter to keep the game from getting out of hand. Trailing by 18 entering the final period, Denton came out in the fourth quarter and took control for the Lady Bombers. Burns hit a couple of shots to cut into the lead and then Denton would score 14 of the Lady Bombers final 21 points in the quarter. Denton’s basket and then hitting one of two free throws would trim the Lady Marshall lead to 62-49. Marshall County once again made a run scoring nine of the next eleven points for their largest lead of the game at 72-51. The Lady Bombers would keep fighting and would make a run of their own as they outscored the Lady Marshalls ten to one to get the lead back to twelve at 73-61. The Lady Bombers would get to within 11 at 75-64 on a pair of Denton free throws, but that would be as close as they would get. Denton would put a nice ending to the game for the Lady Bombers as she hit a three point shot from just a couple of steps inside the half court line at the buzzer for the 80-67 final.
Ballard Memorial finished hitting on 21 of 38 field goals, 3 of 9 from three point land. Denton would lead the way with 27 points for the Lady Bombers. In her first varsity game, Burns would play more like a seasoned veteran as she hit 7 of 8 field goals to finish with 15 points. Senior Hailey Houston would finish with a solid eight points and seven rebound performance while eighth graders Blackford and Shelley finished with ten and seven respectively. Coach Vance could not say enough about Burns’ performance in her first varsity competition. “Tashion Burns, she amazed me. I did not expect anything like that. I told her I have got to have that from her in every game,” said Vance. She added, “If we can get our younger players to play like they did tonight, we are going to be fine.” The couple of things Coach Vance said they will need to improve on are blocking out and free throw shooting. The Lady Bombers only connected on 16 of 33 free throws and gave up too many second chance points in the game. “I am looking forward to the rest of the seasons. We are only going to get better. I can’t wait. These kids are going to do some good things,” said Vance.
The Lady Bombers get right back at it as they play in the Massac Shootout against host Massac on Monday night the 9th followed by an All A preview game against Murray on Tuesday the 10th and they wrap up the tournament on Thursday against Carbondale. The Lady Bombers then play host to the Lady Eagles from Graves County in district play at the Green Palace on the 16th before traveling to Livingston County on the 17th.