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The Lady Falcons advanced in the first round of District 8-AAA tournament action Thursday night, defeating Tullahoma for the third time this season, 64-49.
But, the fourth seed finish in the regular season forced the ladies to match up with the district-leading Lady Lions Saturday in their second game. Columbia took the win, 72-35.
With Lincoln County the host school for this year’s tournament, the Lady Falcons will match up Monday night against Shelbyville in the consolation game starting at 6 p.m. The ladies have fallen twice this season to the Lady Eagles by five points on the road in their first meeting and one point at home.
“There were a couple district games in the regular season we should have won,” said Coach Herman Hardin. “Those losses put us in a situation where we had to meet Columbia in the second round. And, as you saw tonight, Columbia has a very good team. They run the floor very well.
“We did a good job in the game with Tullahoma,” Coach Hardin continued. “They have a program that has very much improved, and I’m proud of the girls for their three wins over the Lady Wildcats this season.
“We’ve got the opportunity to redeem ourselves to some degree matching up with Shelbyville Monday night,” he added. “A district win there would help us with some momentum down the road.”
For the first time this season, six freshmen were allowed to dress with the team Thursday night.
Against the Lady Wildcats, the Lady Falcons lit it up early from the floor, nailing four from the arch in the first period. LCHS was up, 16-0, when the Lady Wildcats picked up their first points that came from the line. At the end of one, the Lady Falcons were up, 24-6.
Coach Hardin began working into his bench in the second. Both teams picked up 13 points in the period, and Lincoln County was up, 37-19, at the break.
In the third, the ladies had their largest lead of the night, up 42-21, but late in the period Lincoln County went on a 3-minute drought. Both teams scored 11 points in the eight minutes, and the Lady Falcons were up 48-30 at the end of three.
With 4:29 in the final stanza, the Lady Wildcats cut the margin to 11 points trailing, but Cortney Storey went to the line the ladies next possession and dropped them both. The ladies maintained the lead the final minutes to finish with the win, 64-49.
Whitney Graham led for the ladies with 13 points. Cortney Storey had a balanced game with 12 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists. Khaila King scored 11; Elizabeth Faulkner, 9; Morgan Higgins, Shy Buchanan and Samantha Williams, 5; McKinley Slayton, 3; and Karla Lua scored 1.
The ladies were 17 of 37 from the paint and 7 of 22 from the arch. From the line, the ladies were 9 of 17.
Graham had 4 from downtown; Buchanan, Slayton and Faulkner had one.
Lincoln County won the boards, 45-33. The Lady Wildcats had 15 turnovers; the ladies had 11.
The ladies opened well against the Lady Lions, up 10-8 with 3:39 in the first quarter. Graham hit two from the arch, and Slayton dropped one, but Columbia got on a 12-2 run in the remainder of the period and was up 20-10 at the end of one.
The Lady Lions kept the pressure on the defensive boards and played a quick transition game for which the Lady Falcons had no answer. Columbia was up 42-20 at the break.
The second half went to the Lady Lions, 30-15, for the win.
Storey led for the ladies with 12. Buchanan and Graham followed with 6; Slayton and Faulkner had 3; Williams, 2; Higgins, King and McKinley Fitch scored 1.
The Lady Falcons were 7 of 22 inside and 5 of 17 from the arch. From the line, the ladies were 6 of 15.
LCHS gave up 26 points on turnovers. Columbia won the boards, 40-25.