Lady Bombers Season Comes To A Close
The Ballard Memorial Lady Bombers began their season with Marshall County, and the Lady Marshals ended the Lady Bomber’s season. The defending regional champion Lady Marshals’ dominated the opening round First Region Tournament game on their way to a 57-26 victory. The game, originally scheduled for Monday was pushed back to Friday night at 4:30 due to inclement weather in the region.
The Lady Bombers had a nice start to the contest as Hailey Houston would get the first points of the game. After Marshall tied the game at two all, Abbi Denton would then hit a pair of free throws. On their next possession, Denton would stop in the lane for a ten foot jump shot for the 6-2 Lady Bomber lead with just over five minutes remaining in the opening quarter. But things went downhill from there for Ballard Memorial. The Lady Bombers would go cold from the field, and the Lady Marshals would start hitting some shots. And when the Lady Marshals would miss, they were hitting the boards and getting offensive rebounds. Marshall would score the next eight points before Ballard Memorial Coach Kayla Vance would call a time out with 1:58 remaining in the open quarter to try and settle the girls. That time out did not slow down the Lady Marshals. After a Marshall missed field goal, they got the rebound and kicked the pass to Allie York who canned the three point shot. York followed that up with another three just before the end of the opening quarter for the 16-6 lead. “We were having to work twice as hard,” said Vance as she added, “We would stop them and they would miss it, but we don’t box out and then they get another chance. So we would have to work hard again on defense.”
York’s third trey in the stretch would provide the Lady Marshalls with the 24-6 lead early in the second quarter. Denton would finally put an end to the 22-0 run with a field goal to make the score 24-8. The field goal ended a nearly nine minute drought for the Lady Bombers. The Lady Marshals would leave little doubt into the outcome as the then outscored the Lady Bombers 14-4 to end the half with the commanding 38-12 advantage. Marshall County would end the opening half taking 37 field goal attempts compared to only 19 attempts for the Lady Bombers. Also Marshall hit 4 of 7 treys in the opening half while the Lady Bombers went zero of seven.
The Lady Bombers played for pride in the second half, but they would continue their struggles from the field. The eight points scored in the third quarter for Ballard Memorial would not be enough to make a difference, as the Lady Marshals hit another trey at the buzzer to end the third quarter with the 55-20 lead. The 35 point lead would put the running clock into effect for the final quarter. Both teams emptied their benches in the fourth quarter and there was little scoring from either side. The Lady Bombers managed to outscore Marshall County 6-2 in the final eight minutes to trim the final to 57-26. The 26 points was a season low for the Lady Bombers. “When you shot 20% from the field, it’s kind of hard to win a game,” said Vance. She went on to say, “We practiced and kept telling them the little things we had to do, take care of the ball, we had to box out. We just didn’t do it.” The Lady Marshals turned 19 Lady Bomber turnovers into 27 points in the game while they also held the 17-2 advantage in second chance points.
The Lady Marshals put an end to the Lady Bomber playing careers of Abbi Denton, Hailey Houston, and Shelby Rollings, “I hate we had to lose this game,” said Vance. “Marshall ended my career to, so I feel their pain.” Denton would score over half of the Lady Bomber points as she ended with 14 points and seven rebounds. She would finish her career with 1277 points leaving her ninth on the all-time Lady Bomber scoring list. Houston would score five points and 13 rebounds in her finale. Leah Shelley would end the night with three points and eight rebounds, while Jayde Newton hit a pair of free throws, and Erin Young along with Kenzie Blackford would both finish with one point.
When asked by her family following the game on why they were in the locker room so long after the game, Abbi Denton said, “I just didn’t want to take my jersey off.” This from a player who took as much pride in wearing the green uniform as any Ballard Memorial player to have played the game. The contribution Denton, along with Houston and Rollings made during their careers will carry on for years to come. We wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.
The Lady Bombers end the season with a 14-14 record. This was quite an accomplishment for a team that started the season 2-8. “They did all the work,” said Vance as she concluded, “They worked their butts off every day in practice. I could not ask for a better group of kids. They’re awesome kids.”