Lady Cardinals unable to hold five-point lead, fall to Franklin County in overtime

By Les Dixon, Corbin Times Tribune

LEXINGTON — With a second consecutive trip to the Elite Eight within their grasp, the South Laurel Lady Cardinals couldn’t hold on to a five-point lead with less than a minute remaining in regulation, leading to a heartbreaking 59-55 overtime loss to 11th Region champion Franklin County.
After seeing a 55-50 advantage turn into a 50-all tie, South Laurel had a chance to regain the lead with 2.7 seconds remaining in regulation but misfired on a front end of a bonus situation. The Lady Flyers scored the game’s final nine points, as South Laurel (20-11) saw its season come to an end.
“To get to this point, I told them in there (locker room), I don’t know if I’ll ever be proud of a team as this one. Any time you lose your final game, it’s tough,” South Laurel coach Chris Souder said. “The kids work so hard. Most people don’t realize what we’ve been through, the adversity and the ups and downs.”
The Lady Cardinals fought foul trouble throughout the contest with junior center Rachel Presley playing only 16 minutes while finishing with one point and two rebounds. South Laurel shot 45.2 percent (19-of-42) from the floor but turned the ball over 28 times.
Reagan Jones led the Lady Cardinals with 14 points while Bree Howard followed with nine points, and Kylie Clem and Clara Collins each scored eight points apiece.
Franklin County managed to move on despite hitting only 17 of 35 free throw attempts and 18 of 55 shot attempts. Brooklyn Miles scored seven of the Lady Flyers’ final seven points and led the team with 17 points while Patience Laster followed with 14 points and 14 rebounds.
The lead changed hands seven times in the first quarter before seeing Franklin County take an 11-10 advantage into the second quarter. South Laurel took a hit at the 2:11 mark when Rachel Presley picked up her second foul.
The Lady Flyers’ largest lead of the quarter was three points (6-3), but South Laurel managed to take a 10-9 advantage with 41 seconds left after a basket by Kylie Clem gave the Lady Cardinals a short-lived 10-9 lead. Franklin County added two free throws to end the period while reclaiming an 11-10 advantage.
Souder’s squad continued to hang tough in the second quarter behind some key 3-points shots by Emily Cox, Bree Howard, and Reagan Jones. The absence of Presley in the middle hurt with Kennedy leading the Lady Fryers with nine points.
Jones’ 3-pointer with 19 seconds left in the half, cut South Laurel’s deficit to 30-24 but Miles was able to answer with a 3-pointer of her own at the buzzer, lifting Franklin County to a 33-24 edge at halftime.
Both teams dealt with shooting woes in the first half with the Lady Flyers hitting on only 11-of-29 shot attempts while the Lady Cardinals were 9-of-24, including a 3-of-12 effort from behind the arc.
South Laurel opened the third quarter with a 10-2 run that saw the Lady Cardinals cut their deficit to one point. Cox started the rally with a jumper while Clem followed with a basket and Howard connected with a 3-pointer. Howard’s second 3-pointer of the period cut Franklin County’s lead to 35-34 with 5:11 remaining in the period.
The Lady Flyers followed with an 8-0 run that pushed their lead to 43-34 before seeing Cox score and an old-fashioned three-point play by Jones make the score 43-39. Franklin County added a free throw to take a 44-39 lead into the fourth quarter.
South Laurel continued to mount a comeback and opened the fourth quarter with an 11-1 run. Jones and Collins both scored to begin the period while Collins hit a free throw to make the score 45-44. A 3-pointer by Jones gave the Lady Cardinals a 47-45 advantage with 3:05 left while a free throw and a basket by Jones increased South Laurel’s lead to 50-45 with 56 seconds remaining.
The Lady Flyers didn’t fold, though.
They answered with a 5-0 run that saw a 3-pointer and two free throws by Miles tie the game at 50 apiece. Howard had a chance to put her team ahead with 2.7 seconds remaining but missed the front end of a one-and-one to send the game into overtime.
The Lady Cardinals ran out of gas in the extra period. A tip-in by Meade gave Franklin County a 52-50 lead with 49 seconds remaining, while two free throws by Miles extended the Lady Flyers’ advantage to 54-50. Franklin County added a free throw seconds later to secure the win.
South Laurel (50) — Jones 14, Howard 9, Cox 7, Clem 8, Presley 1, Collins 8, Miller 2, Turner 1.
Franklin County (55) — Kennedy 9, Carter 4, Miles 17, Laster 14, Meade 4, Ridderikhoff 1, Frazee 6.

South Laurel 10 14 15 11 0 50
Franklin County 11 22 11 6 5 55