Warrior girls KO’ed by Lions
By Andy Krutsinger,
Mt. Pleasant News
LONE TREE — It was a tall task for the WACO girls on Tuesday night as they attempted to knock out Lone Tree from the regional tournament on the Lions’ home floor.
Despite a nice defensive effort for the Warriors in the first half, Lone Tree was able to hold the lead throughout all four quarters and move on with a 55-25 victory.
Neither team seemed to be able to find the bucket in the first quarter, especially WACO, which saw a lot of good looks rim out. Lone Tree scrapped together enough points to take an early lead and it was 10-5 Lions after the first period.
The Warriors continued to struggle from the offensive end in the second quarter, but WACO was able to keep the Lady Lions short of a double-digit lead, trailing 21-12 at halftime.
At the break, Kristen Conley was the leading scorer for WACO, with four points. The Warriors’ 12 points were spread out over six players.
The Lions caught fire early in the third quarter, hitting a handful of shots from outside to start pulling away.
Lone Tree stretched their lead to 40-16 after three quarters, putting the Warriors on the brink of elimination.
WACO couldn’t respond in the fourth and the Lions built their lead to 30 points, eventually closing out the game and punching their ticket to the regional semis.
WACO coach Shannon Rugg credited the Lone Tree defense for speeding the Warriors up and forcing a bad night for WACO shooting the basketball.
“Lone Tree played some great defense and got after us,” Rugg said. “Our hats are off to them. We came over here and played hard. They just beat us.”
Rugg also talked postgame about his two graduating seniors, Halle Kissell and Kasey Sutton. The two graduate with four straight seasons of winning their first round game, the first time it’s happened in Rugg’s tenure as coach.
“What they’ve accomplished in their four years is a pretty special thing,” he said. “They’re great kids. I couldn’t be prouder of those two.”
Kiana Miller led the Warriors in the loss with eight points, five of which came in the second half. Conley finished with six points. Nadiyah Brown had five. Halle Kissell scored three and the trio of Sutton, Ashleigh Hallett and Clara Schmitz had one apiece.
“I’m proud of the girls; they played very hard,” said Rugg after the game. “Obviously it didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but unless you win state, it never does.”