Rick Howard had no complaints about his Heritage girls basketball team’s defense Wednesday against Knoxville Catholic. The Lady Mountaineers limited Lady Irish top player Sydney Mains to seven points from the field and kept Catholic at one of his lowest point totals of the season.
Heritage did enough defensively to win, but offensive collective struggles prevented the Lady Mountaineers from winning the Heritage Christmas Tournament, falling to the Lady Irish, 46-44.
“We played good defense, but our offense smelled bad,” Howard told The Daily Times. “We just scored only there at the end. Every time you keep a team at around 40 points, you should win the game. We need to find other people to intervene besides Bekah (Gardner).
“Usually it’s just one or two players with an evening off, but we had like four who didn’t contribute much in attack. I thought we were playing hard. I’m proud of the kid’s effort, but just put off by our offensive performance.
Gardner paced the Lady Mountaineers with 18 points, including some 3 key points in the final minutes.
The Catholics led until eight in the third quarter before the Lady Mountaineers (11-3) returned, starting with free throws from Mollee French and a Carsyn Swaney 3 to get closer to the three with just over six minutes left. play in the fourth quarter.
The Lady Irish (8-4) seemed able to walk away with five minutes and 23 seconds to go as Heritage’s shot turned cold again and Tinsley Walker took advantage with a 3-pointer to give a lead of seven to Catholic. French responded with a jumper and Gardner hit his fourth trey with 20.7 seconds left to make it a one-possession play.
After being 1 of 2 on the free throw line, Swaney reduced the rebound and came back up to the ground with the clock going down, but instead of shooting for a shot, she tried to go to the basket for the draw. . draping. The shot was blocked at the buzzer to preserve the victory of the Lady Irish.
“Last possession we had a chance to win the game,” said Howard. “(Swaney) made a rookie mistake. She should have shot but went there to challenge their great player but I think that’s part of the experience. Next time she will stop and hit this 3.
“I was proud of Becca and Mollee. I think they played well tonight. It doesn’t hurt us at the district level, so we have to be happy to take a few days off and get ready for the tournament in Kentucky.
Heritage will not have much time to sulk over the loss of Christmas. The Lady Mountaineers’ appearance at the Ohio River Classic in Kentucky on Dec. 27-29 will provide another opportunity to pitch against top-level competitors before heading home to resume the District 4-AAAA game.
“It would have been nice to win that, but we had a chance,” Howard said. “We played really badly. We’re better offensively than we played, but to be in a game defensively against a good team, you have to be pretty happy with it. It was a good tournament overall.
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