Lady Lakers punch ticket in OT win vs Murray High

The end of an era for the Crosstown rivals, as Lady Tiger senior Angela Gierhart (left) and Lady Laker senior Elle Carson fight for the ball in the 4th district semifinals. The Lady Lakers won 59-52 in overtime at the CFSB Center on Saturday.

MURRAY — The Calloway County Lady Lakers saw their season come to an end in semifinals of the Fourth District Tournament Saturday, down 14 points with just over a minute left in the third quarter. Instead of packing it in for the year, the Lady Lakers (18-5) turned up the defensive pressure on the Murray High Lady Tigers and finished regulation on a 22-8 run to force overtime and then pull out the incredible 59-52 comeback. The Lady Lakers won their seventh game in a row and were led by eighth-grade phenom-guard Skylar Waller’s 24 points, and get the chance to rematch with the regional favorite Lady Marshals of Marshall County for the district championship on Monday.

The Lady Tigers (8-9) came out of the gates sluggishly, falling behind 12-4 thanks to a hot start for Waller and fellow eighth-grade guard Madison Futrell’s combined 14 points. The Tigers then woke up and finished the first period on a 12-2 run, thanks to five points each for senior guard Makenzie Turley and junior forward Jade Oakley. After one quarter, the Lady Tigers led 16-14.

Four more points for Turley and sophomore center Alyssa Daughrity highlighted the second quarter for Murray, as they held Calloway to just nine points on 3-of-9 shooting, and helped the Lady Tigers take a 29-23 lead into the locker room at the half. A strong 5-for-8 shooting performance from three-point range helped the Lady Lakers stay within striking distance early.

To start the third quarter, Murray raced out on a 9-1 run, thanks to great team basketball and balanced scoring. A spinning layup for Waller gave Calloway their first basket of the period with just 1:15 left, but that was followed by senior guard Elle Carson’s first basket, a three-pointer off an assist from Waller to cut the Murray lead to nine points, at 38-29, to end the third quarter and give the Lakers a chance in the final period.

Just a few seconds into the fourth quarter, Waller picked up where she left off by hitting a jumper from up top, cutting their deficit to seven points, while Carson continued to struggle. Carson then ended her skid by finding the bottom of the net on a big three-pointer with five minutes left in regulation. Four straight points for Lady Laker junior forward Sunny Clark cut the Murray lead to three with 2:20 to play, and two free throws by Futrell brought the Lady Lakers to within one, but a Daughrity free throw gave Murray a two-point lead with 0:36 left. Carson then came up with a huge steal in the halfcourt and raced coast-to-coast to lay the ball in and tie the game at 46 with 0:14 left on the clock. The Lady Lakers then forced Turley into a tough shot as she drove the right side of the lane and missed a left-handed floater with a couple of seconds left in regulation.

Sophomore guard Addi Schumacher drained a huge three-pointer for the Lady Lakers from the right side to set the tone in overtime in their favor, as Waller pitched in another seven points with a three-pointer and 4-for-4 from the charity stripe. Turley put the Lady Tigers on her back with six points in the extra period, but it wasn’t enough as Schumacher iced the game with two more free throws in the final seconds giving the Lady Lakers the 59-52 win and a spot in the district championship.

“We knew at the end of the third quarter we hadn’t played our best basketball, but if we could bring more energy we could win this and our kids responded,” said Calloway Head Coach Valerie Waller. “I thought it was a great team effort. Skylar led the way and I felt like as we cut the lead everyone else began to jump on board. Down the stretch, Sunny Clark played great defense, Addi Schumacher hit a big three, Madison Futrell really picked up her defensive intensity, and Elle Carson’s leadership helped us come away with the victory.”

For the rest of the Lakers’ scoring, Futrell had 11 points, Carson had 10 and Schumacher and Clark had seven each.

The Tigers were led by Turley’s 18 points, Daughrity finished with 15, senior guard Angela Gierhart had 10, Oakley had six and sophomore guard Riley Campbell pitched in three points.

The Lady Lakers will face the juggernaut Marshall County Lady Marshals (18-2) at the CFSB Center Monday night for the Fourth District championship. They have also qualified for the regional tournament by making it to the district championship.