Lady Raiders knock of Wayne County
Written by Greg Bird
Friday, 26 September 2008
What a difference a month makes.
The first time McCreary Central faced Wayne County this season on August 26, the Lady Raiders looked disjointed, falling 25-22, 25-19 to their District rivals.
Tuesday night, on their home court, the Lady Raiders were at the top of their game, dominating the Lady Cardinals for a 2-0 win (25-15, 25-17.)
An amazing play by Junior Amy Jones capped off an incredible Lady Raider performance that improved McCreary’s record to 18-10.
The Lady Raiders were winning 24-17, but the Cardinals had won five of the last 11 points when Brooke Jones managed to dig an errant shot out of the net, the ball sailed toward the sidelines when Amy Jones thrust out her left arm in a last-ditch attempt to save the point. The ball sailed over the net to the far left corner of the Cardinals’ court, falling in for the winning point.
The play was the exclamation point on an evening that saw the Lady Raiders stake their claim to the 45th District title and solidified their claim as a top team in the region.
The first game of the match started with a back-and-forth battle for the lead. But Brooke Jones and Chelsei Chitwood combined for five aces over the next ten serves to propel McCreary ahead 21-10. Wayne County mounted a minor comeback, winning the next five points, but a Kayla Morgan kill ended the rally and the Lady Raiders cruised to the finish, winning 25-15.
The Lady Raider win deflated the Lady Cardinals and McCreary jumped out early in the second game, 6-1. Wayne County tried to rally late in the game, but the Lady Raiders responded to every threat with an attack of their own as they pulled off a big 25-17 win to improve their District record to 3-2.
Barring an upset against Monticello Thursday night, the Lady Raiders are guaranteed at least a second seed in the District Tournament. McCreary has already defeated Monticello three times this season, twice in the McCreary County Invitational Tournament and once in regular District play. If Russell County defeats Wayne County on September 29, there would be a three-way tie for first and the seeding will come down to a coin toss.
“We took care of our own business,” Coach Robert Jones said after the game. “Now the ball is in their court.”
Citing big wins in the past three weeks against powerhouse LaRue County and the always- tough Russell County, Coach Jones said he believes the Lady Raiders have gained the necessary confidence they will need to contend for a District and Region title.
“I think over the past two weeks the girls have learned that if they just play their game the way they know how, they have the opportunity to beat anybody,” he said.
Jones cautioned his team still needed to maintain their focus throughout the match to prevent allowing teams to come back.
“In both games tonight we had them down and let them get up,” he said. “We need to finish opponents off when we have the chance.”
The Lady Raiders played in the Rockcastle County Invitational over the weekend, ending the tournament with a 2-2 record. McCreary defeated Whitley County and Lincoln County while falling to North Laurel and Rockcastle.
Just two weeks remain in the Lady Raiders’ regular season with matches against Whitley County, Southwestern at home on September 30, Jellico, Lincoln County and North Laurel left on the slate. The 2008 45th District Tournament will begin the week of October 13 and be held at Monticello High School.