Lady Bombers Keep Winning
The Ballard Memorial Lady Bombers keep finding ways to win. They have won six of their last seven games following their 56-40 victory on Friday night in Mayfield. “Defense always wins games,” said Coach Kayla Vance following the team’s district victory. This followed a stifling second half defense that saw the Lady Cardinals manage only 12 points in the final 16 minutes of the ballgame against the Lady Bombers.
Ballard Memorial looked like they were going to run away with the game in the first quarter. After trailing 6-4, the Lady Bombers went on a 9-0 run. During the run, Hailey Houston got a free throw to cut the lead to one. Kenzie Blackford followed that with an offensive rebound put back for the Lady Bombers first lead at 7-6 with 5:08 remaining in the opening quarter. Abbi Denton got a field goal for the 9-6 advantage. Shelby Rollings then drained a three point shot from the left wing and was fouled. She stepped up to the free throw line and completed the four point play. The Lady Bombers may have gotten too confident as their play on the offensive and defensive ends became sloppy. This allowed the Lady Cardinals to fight back and score 11 points in row to take the 17-13 lead early in the second quarter. The game was very competitive from that point on throughout the remainder of the first half. Blackford hit a pair of free throws to end the run leaving the Lady Bombers down 17-15. The Lady Bombers would rely upon the long range shots to regain the lead. Rollings would hit her second trey, Denton would hit one, and Meghan Walker’s trey with 1:08 remaining would provide the Lady Bombers with the 26-25 lead. The defense would allow an offensive rebound put back for Mayfield to allow the Lady Cardinals to regain the 27-26 lead. Denton hit a free throw to tie the game up late in the quarter. A Lady Bomber foul as time expired allowed the Lady Cardinals to get two free throw chances. They hit one of two for the 28-27 Lady Cardinal lead at the half.
Coach Vance took the halftime break to provide some encouragement to the team, and let them know in simple terms what needs to be done. “If you’re not going to box out, which is all effort, we’re not going to win,” said Vance. Eighth grader Leah Shelley said, “Our defense in the first half was really slow.” Mayfield appeared to have an answer for everything the Lady Bombers would throw at them. They scored the first bucket to push the lead back to 30-27. Denton canned a three to tie the game at 30 all. The Cardinals would answer with another three to extend their lead back to 33-30. Little did they realize that would be the last points they would score in the quarter. Shelley got a bucket to cut the lead to one. Denton then deflected the Lady Cardinal pass and came away with the steal. She took the turnover and converted this into a 34-33 Lady Bomber lead. Shelley would get two more field goals and Houston would get a free throw to extend the lead to six. The long range Bombers would strike again as Blackford would hit a trey to push the lead to nine and Denton would put the finishing touches on the third quarter with a trey of her own at the buzzer. The Lady Bombers outscored Mayfield 18-5 in the quarter, including scoring the last 15 points of the quarter.
The 45-33 Lady Bomber lead went back to single digits with a three point shot by Mayfield to start the fourth quarter. Shelley would push the lead back to double figures before Mayfield would hit another three to trim the lead to 47-39. But it was too much Bomber defense the remainder of the game. The Lady Bombers would end the game outscoring the Lady Cardinals 9-1 to claim the 56-40 victory. In fact, Shelley and Denton both scored 12 points each in the second half, which both matched the total point output of Mayfield in the second half. Denton would finish with 20 points while Shelley added 14 points. Denton now stands at 1113 points and moved into 15th place on the all time Lady Bomber scoring list. Blackford would finish with eight, Rollings added seven, Houston had four and Walker ended with three. Shelley said about the team’s second half performance, “We knew we had to pick it up or we wouldn’t win,” Vance added about her point of emphasis on the year saying, “Every day we work on defense and on boxing out because those are essential things. If we don’t do those, we won’t beat anybody.”
The Lady Bombers are now 9-10 on the year and 2-1 in district play. The Lady Bombers will play for a share of the regular season district title on Tuesday night, February 11th at Graves County, who stands at 2-0 in district play. “We have to slow them down and take them out of their game,” said Vance. Shelley added about the big district matchup, “We have to stay focused, run our game plan, and execute.”
The Lady Bomber’s game against Crittenden County on the 8th was cancelled due to weather. They wrap up the year with road games at Fulton City on the 10th, Graves County on the 11th, and Carlisle County on the 14th. They have four home games remaining at the Green Palace as they play Hickman County on the 13th, Fulton City on the 17th, St. Mary on the 18th, and Calloway County on the 20th.