LEXINGTON — A hard-fought game against the state’s top team came up short for the Lady Tigers, and for the second year in a row, the team is out in round one of the KHSAA Sweet 16. Turnovers plagued the Tigers last night on the big stage against Ryle, who turned up the defensive pressure to a level not seen by the Lady Tigers all year.
A total of 12 turnovers at halftime, resulting in 12 points, was the difference, with the final score at 27-13. By the end of the game, the Lady Tigers turned the ball over 25 times and gave up 27 points off those turnovers.
“They’re length; you can’t simulate it,” head coach Wyatt Foust said. “The only other team that had that kind of length we saw all year was Eastern. Marshall County has some length but they don’t quite have the quickness to go with that length, and so when you can’t simulate it, you can’t prepare for it.”
“If you turn the ball over against them, if you let them get going in transition, two becomes 10, and now you’re behind,” Foust said. “We didn’t get to do quite what we wanted to do as far as control the tempo and control the pace, especially getting behind early, but they’re a favorite to win this thing (the entire tournament) for a reason.”
Ryle took advantage with some easy lay-in opportunities and continued to extend the lead quarter by quarter, finishing the first up 11-3 and winning the fourth 18-6 over the Lady Tigers. This matchup brings back the same debate from the last couple of years: should the sweet 16 be seeded instead of random draw?
“We had an awesome regular season, and I think at some point you’ve got to look at seeding this thing,” Foust said. “Male and Boyd are going to play at 1:30 on Thursday, and no offense to anyone else in that bracket…but it’s just to the point that now we have ways to do it.”
The two seniors, Lizzy Curtis and Parker Greer, have now played their last game in a Murray High uniform, and the way they finished their careers was impressive.
“A lot of people didn’t really believe in us this year, to be honest,” Greer said. “This year just means a whole lot more… we made it this far and that’s just awesome.”
“I think around Murray, they kind of expect us to go just because we’ve always gone there,” Curtis said. “But I think we take it for granted sometimes that there’s only 16 teams that actually get to come up here and we were just glad that we got an extra week to spend time with each other.”
Senior Parker Greer finished her career with eight points and a whole lot of sweat left on the court, while fellow senior Lizzy Curtis ended with six points and a state record for three point shots in a single season. Junior Calli Carver put forth her best effort, leading the team in scoring with nine. Next season, it will be up to her, Makenzie Turley, and Angela Gierhart to lead this team.
“I’m sure everyone will want to talk about what we are losing again, and that’s perfect if they want to write that narrative for us,” Foust said. “We are going to have to improve as individuals if we are going to come back to and do this again. If we come back in October the exact same players that we leave this gym…we will not be here.”