Lady Eagles Close Improved Season With Overtime Loss
By David Sharp
Knox County battled back from an early nine point deficit and led their first round Class 2 District 6 girls’ game with Marceline by a three point margin entering the final quarter of regulation play.
The Lady Tigers turned the ball over to an opportunistic Knox County defense twice in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter.
Both teams had chances to win the game during the last 20 seconds of easily the best first round Moberly district contest. Marceline scored the first seven points of overtime and survived two clutch home run balls from Myra Parrish and Stacey Leckbee to win by a 63-58 final score.
Knox County seniors Caley Palmer and Jessie Stout played their final games for the Lady Eagles. Caley Palmer took the final scoring attempt of an improved KCHS varsity girls’ season at the buzzer.
Marceline (15-9) bolted to a 7-4 lead off Knox County turnovers in the first four minutes. The Lady Tigers turned the basketball over about 30 times during the contest. Knox County was near the same mark unofficially. Marceline gave Knox County scoring chances midway through the opening quarter.
Lorrie Peters gave Knox County an 8-7 lead with a field goal at the 2:41 mark of the first quarter. Marceline was better on the boards in the first half. The Lady Tigers responded by closing the first eight minutes on a 6-0 run to a 13-8 lead at the first break.
Marceline opened a nine point lead when Taylor Frandson converted a KCHS turnover into a three pointer and Jordan Ewigman followed 15 seconds later with a Lady Tiger field goal for an 18-9 edge with 7:15 showing on the second quarter clock.
Becca Mallett got in good rebounding position and drew a two free throw opportunity. Knox County pulled within a field goal when Tessa Ramer drove the lane and scored with 4:54 remaining until the halftime.
The teams battled to a 28-25 Lady Tiger lead at intermission. Tessa Ramer took advantage of a Marceline turnover and tied the score at 32 with 4:59 to play in quarter three. The score was tied twice more before Myra Parrish connected on a KCHS home run ball with 2:30 to go in period three.
Knox County held a 39-36 lead. The Lady Eagle fans stood and cheered their team as they took a 41-38 lead to the fourth quarter. Marceline fought back and tied the score at 44 with 6:12 remaining in regulation time.
Molly Ewigman tossed in a Marceline free throw 12 seconds later for a 45-44 lead. Myra Parrish stepped up again and buried a three ball for a 47-45 lead with 5:45 to go in the now gut wrenching fourth quarter.
Marceline tied the game at 47. Kaitlyn Cavanah tossed in a great shot, capping a 6-0 Lady Tiger run to a 51-47 lead with 2:21 to play in the game. Myra Parrish sank a free throw seconds later. Amanda Woods rebounded the miss of the second try.
Woods scored trimming the Lady Tiger lead to 51-50 with 2:08 to play in the fourth quarter. Taylor Frandson sank a Marceline free throw with 60 seconds showing on the clock for a 52-50 lead.
Marceline got the ball back. Stacey Leckbee stole the rock for the Lady Eagles. Amanda Woods tied the game at 52 with 29 seconds to play in regulation time. Knox County stole the ball again with 19 ticks on the clock tied at 52.
The Lady Eagles took the ball to the hole. Amanda Woods drove the baseline. All district center Jordan Ewigman defended the play well. Woods could not find an open player in time and was whistled for a turnover with six seconds to play in the game.
Marceline got the ball to Jordan Ewigman about ten feet from the hoop as time ran down. A jump shot for the win rang off the iron. The horn sounded and the Lady Eagles took fourth seeded Marceline to overtime tied at 52.
Marceline got to the free throw line 42 times on the night and converted 27 charity tosses. Haylee Jenkins drew a foul and sank two Marceline free throws ten seconds into overtime. Marceline stole the basketball on Knox County’s next two possessions.
Taylor Frandson scored at the 3:10 mark of overtime for a 56-52 lead. Marceline spread the court. Haylee Jenkins and Katie Gladbach sank Lady Tiger free throws for a 59-52 lead with 1:39 remaining in overtime.
Knox County fought back one more time. Myra Parrish tossed in a three ball with 1:34 showing on the extra session clock, trimming the Lady Tiger lead to 59-55.
Myra Parrish stole the ball. Stacey Leckbee put Knox County right back in the game with a three pointer at the one minute mark. Marceline led 59-58. Jordan Ewigman answered seconds later. Stacey Leckbee had to leave the game for a time due to injury.
The Lady Tigers led 61-58 with 30 seconds to play in the game. Molly Ewigman sank one of two Marceline free throws with ten seconds to play extending the Lady Tiger lead to 62-58.
Knox County was called for an intentional foul on the play, giving the ball back to Marceline. Jordan Ewigman sank a Lady Tiger free throw with 7.3 seconds to play. Caley Palmer drove the lane as time ran down. The scoring attempt rang off the rim and Marceline advanced with the 63-58 overtime win.
Katie Gladbach took game scoring honors with 22 Marceline points. Gladbach averaged 11 points per game on the season. Taylor Frandson was in double figures with 13 points. Knox County held Jordan Ewigman below her season average. Jordan Ewigman was the third Lady Tiger in double figures with ten points.
The teams tossed in four home run balls each. Knox County held a 19-12 lead in field goals, but the 27-8 made free throw margin was the statistical difference. The Lady Eagles attempted 17 free throws on the night.
“There was a lot of pressure in that game. If you lose you go home. There was no second chance,” said Lady Tiger coach Van Gilmore. “I thought we were a little off beat on our offense tonight. Knox County played good defense. We are in charge of running our offense.”
“We have been in a lot of close games lately,” said Coach Gilmore. “I thought was a sloppy game. Both teams had (unforced) turnovers. Being on this college floor may have caused some changes in our style of play. There were a lot of first round jitters out there tonight. You have to play the game.”
The Lady Eagles had several players rise to the challenge and beat their season scoring averages. Amanda Woods led the Lady Eagles with 17 points. Lorrie Peters scored 11 KCHS points. Myra Parrish was in double figures with ten Lady Eagle points.
Tessa Ramer scored nine Lady Eagle points. Stacey Leckbee scored five points. Katie Ausmus tossed in four points and Becca Mallett added two points.
The Lady Eagles had a streaky season. Knox County won six of seven games around the first of the year. Knox County dropped five straight before a great second half helped them win on Senior Night over Atlanta.
Knox County has a lot of talented players eligible to return next season. The Lady Eagles have promising young players coming up through their developmental system.
The Lady Eagles improved from past seasons and finished with an 11-14 overall record. The off season will be key. There is a need to improve shooting and scoring ability that promises to again be the summer focus.
“”We played extremely hard,” said first year Knox County head coach John Weaver. “We knew from the tip off that this was going to be a tough game. We did a lot of things right. They just did a little more at the end.”
“All year long we have looked at the floor and asked who is our go to player,” said Coach Weaver. “We don’t have that one player that can score at will. Amanda Woods stepped up huge tonight. She had to be in the role of a defensive stopper.”
“We had a lot of kids step up and play really well tonight,” said Weaver. “Our seniors are great kids that have made a lot of positive contributions over the years. We are looking forward t o the coming years.”