Lady Cougar Campaign Ends in District Tourney
The Rector Lady Cougars drew the Marmaduke Lady Greyhounds as their first round opponent in the 2A-3 district tournament at BIC last week, falling to their neighbors from the south for the third time in the season. Playing with high emotion and energy, the Lady Cougars jumped to an early lead on the Lady 'Hounds, although the MHS squad responded and powered to the win.
Coming out of the locker room hot, the RHS squad got a pair of three's from Gabby Clark, a pair of field goals and a free throw from Ellie Ford and a triple and a deuce from Kena Parrish as they took a 16-10 lead after one. But, as they have all year long the Lady 'Hounds stepped up the defense in the second, taking the frame 18-5 to take a 28-21 halftime advantage.
“We had the lead early after the first quarter and were up, but they ended up flipping us around and getting up six or seven at the half,” second year head coach Mitchell Weber observed later.
The third quarter was much the same, although the Lady Cougar defense was also up to the task, as Marmaduke took the frame 12-5 to extend the lead. Down the stretch the Rector girls were forced to foul, with the Lady Cougars holding on for the 47-34 win.
“We played hard, but hats off to them, we just ran into the better team,” Weber offered. “You know, we were a little out-manned but I did move some of the ninth graders up at the end of the junior high district tournament and I thought Carly Robinson really played well for us. We just got beat by the better team.”
Despite the play of the starters, and Robinson's minutes off the bench, the Lady 'Hounds continued to provide the Rector girls with match-up problems.
“I tried to wrap my brain around how we were going to guard them all week long, and there's really no great way to guard them,” Coach Weber added. “That's always gonna be how they're gonna be—they're always gonna put five girls on the floor who can score. And, eventually we have to get to where we can put five girls on the floor who can do the same.”
Despite the early exit from postseason play, Weber noted the squad continues to show improvement despite moving up from 1A to 2A.
“We went 6-21 playing at the 1A level last year and finish at 14-14 this year in 2A. Obviously, we wanted to make the regional since we were hosting it, but 14-14 is very respectable especially for the league and conference that we're in,” he added. “We won the NEA too in a bracket that was very favorable to us, but we still won it and I thought it was a very good year for us.”
Unlike last year, Weber will also have to say goodbye to several seniors as they'll be lost to graduation.
“You know I didn't have any seniors last year, which was kind of weird, so Gabby (Clark), Sawyer (Hendrix), Colbie (Robinson) and Shianne (Rients) kind of basically got two years of a big senior year—which is what we always spoke to. But as I told them the other night, and it was kind of emotional, they will always be the foundation of what we're trying to do and I'm glad they went out at 14-14, and didn't go out with a losing record. To go out with at least a .500 record was always a big goal of ours, and a big positive for them as they go into whatever they want to do in life. All-in-all it was a good year for us.”
The future also looks bright for the RHS girl's program, as they return wealth of experience and the top scorers in freshman Ellie Ford and junior Kena Parrish. In the game with Marmaduke, Ford led the team with 13, including a six-for-seven night at the charity stripe, while Clark had seven, Parrish had five, Hendrix finished with four, Carly Robinson had three and Colbie Robinson had two. Johnna Rae Baine led the Lady 'Hounds with 10 as they spread the scoring around.
The following evening the Lady Greyhounds fell to the second-seeded Riverside Lady Rebels 38-28 in the semi-finals, with the Lady Rebs shelled by Melbourne in the championship game Friday.