HALL OF FAME
GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Banshees roll past Tigers in district tilt
February 11, 2014Bardstown High School
Icy conditions outside were in stark contrast to the hot shooting going on inside Bethlehem’s gym Wednesday as the Banshees pulled away from Bardstown in the third quarter to score a 62-51 win.
“It’s all coming together,” Bethlehem coach Chris Taylor said of his team’s third straight win, all by double digits. “The girls are buying in.”
The win was a critical one for Bethlehem’s hopes of climbing out of the 4-5 seed game in the 19th District tournament, as the Banshees improved to 2-5 in district games. If Bethlehem can pull off a home upset Friday against Thomas Nelson and Bardstown (3-4 dist.) falls at Nelson County, the Banshees would claim the No. 3 seed by virtue of a tiebreaker.
“It’s really important,” junior guard Leanne Dant said of the matchup with the Generals tonight in the front end of a girls-boys doubleheader at 6 p.m. Thomas Nelson won 59-37 in the teams’ previous meeting in December. “It’ll be a big win if we can get it.”
Dant enjoyed the hottest hand of all the Banshees, scoring 17 and hitting mid- to long-range jumpers for seven of her eight field goals.
“She’s been doing it for the last three games,” Taylor said. “She takes good shots, (and) she’s finally gotten into a rhythm.”
Dant’s steady hand throughout the game — she hit two buckets apiece in each quarter — helped open things up for the rest of the Banshees’ offense as Bethlehem pulled away after halftime behind big second halves by seniors MacKenzie Hagan and Addie Alm. Hagan tallied 11 of her 17 after the break, while Alm got all 14 of her points in the second half, 10 in the third quarter.
“We definitely played our hearts out,” Dant said. “We played as a team.”
The Banshees (6-9) were hot out of the gate, building a 7-0 lead two minutes in. The Tigers gradually climbed back into it, tying it at 13-13 on a bucket followed by two free throws by BreAsia Spalding at the 6:36 mark before halftime. The next trip down the court, Spalding found Jazz Kimberland on a pick-and-roll, touching off a 10-minute stretch that featured two ties and six lead changes extending into the second half.
Bethlehem was down 27-26 on a Spalding bucket, but Madison Taylor put the Banshees back up 28-27 with a low-post basket, kicking off an 8-1 spurt that led to a 34-28 lead with 2:38 left in t
he third quarter.
The Tigers (9-12) got as close as 38-36 in the final minute of the third quarter when ShaTonda Calbert scored on a stickback and was fouled, hitting the bonus free throw. But Alm got a driving layup and a pair of free throws to close out the third quarter, and Olivia Simpson drained a three to open the fourth, making it 45-36.
Bardstown never got closer than seven the rest of the way as the Banshees hit nine free throws in the fourth quarter and limited the Tigers to one-shot-and-done by controlling the rebounding glass.
In addition, the Banshees’ ball movement was key, a by-product of the cohesion they’ve displayed in their recent hot streak. Dant had four assists to go with her 17 points and five boards, while Simpson dished out three assists.
“The girls are really excited,” Chris Taylor said. “They realize that it’s working.”
Hagan hit 11 of Bethlehem’s 15 free throws in the game, and also tallied 10 rebounds. Alm grabbed nine boards.
Caresha Allen had 10 points for the Tigers, who tip off tonight at 6 at Nelson County in the front end of a girls-boys doubleheader.