It looked like it was eight on five, and that’s not an officials joke.
The Mason County girls’ basketball team swarmed Bracken County constantly Thursday night in the 39th District Championship at The Fieldhouse and cruised to a 71-21 victory.
“We just really wanted to come out and beat them really bad and give them no hope,” Lady Royals guard AJ Reed said. “We wanted this to be our game throughout the whole game and I felt like we did a good job of that.”
The Lady Royals forced 28 turnovers, 15 of them in the first half as they led 25-4 by the end of the first quarter, fueled by a 19-0 run.
A 16-1 run to start the second quarter enforced a running clock the second half as the Lady Royals led 41-5 with 2:47 to go in the half.
“Our length and our depth wore on them. We wanted to speed the game up, they were comfortable and much improved in the halfcourt and attacking the basket. We wanted to speed them up, rush some shots and get us in transition,” Lady Royals coach Brad Cox said.
Bracken County was able to close the half on a 9-2 run to make it 43-14 by halftime.
The third quarter was much of the same story as the Lady Royals scored the first 15 points of the half to extend out to a 58-14 lead.
“They’re a really good basketball team. They are really athletic and seemed like every time we got going with a head of steam somewhere, they just stole the ball,” Lady Royals coach Sam Elsbernd said. “We just got beat by a really good team tonight. They may not be what they were the last few years, but that’s still a really good team.”
The Lady Bears would close a quarter strong again as they scored four of the final six with the two headed to the fourth with Mason County leading 60-18.
Reserves would close out a fourth quarter that flew by, ending with the Lady Royals on top by 50 to claim their fourth straight district championship.
“This one means more. The past few years I wasn’t expected to do as much, not as much weight on my shoulders. This year it’s kind of my team and I’m trying to lead my team and we’re trying to go for that region title,” Moran said.
Now both teams will head to Harrison County Saturday morning to find out their opponent during the 10th Region Tournament draw. After being one of the favorites to win it the past couple years, Mason County will enter with an underdog role.
“We talked in the locker room after the game that we have to believe we can win it. If we play good basketball we have a good chance. It won’t be easy, but we have a chance and believe we can win it. It doesn’t matter if you are the favorite or the underdog, you just have to show up and play and perform to the best of your ability,” Cox said.
The Lady Royals were led by Emma Taylor’s 16 points off the bench. Victoria Brooks added 14 points and Moran tossed in 11.
Bracken County will focus on what they’ve been doing all year, moving forward.
“We started this season 0-7 with a very tough schedule, but these girls kept sticking with it and we’re going to the regional tournament. I’m proud of these girls, us getting beat by 50 points doesn’t change how I feel about us or the progress we’ve made. We’re in this for the long haul, it’s a long season and a long way in terms of developing our program. Our motto is forward, tonight stinks, but we go forward from here,” Elsbernd said.
The Lady Bears were led by Kennedy Carl with 11 points. Kinley Ruf and Aryah Myrick added four points each.
BRACKEN COUNTY (21) – Carl 11, Myrick 4, Ruf 4, Goecke 2
MASON COUNTY (71) – Taylor 16, Brooks 14, Moran 11, Payne 7, White 6, Reed 6, Poe 4, Henry 3, May 2, Schumacher 2
Field Goals: Bracken 5/33, Mason 29/55
3-Pointers: Bracken 2/8, Mason 2/9
Free Throws: Bracken 9/15, Mason 11/19
Rebounds: Bracken 29 (Wills 4), Mason 32 (Brooks 5)
Assists: Bracken 1 (Bell 1), Mason 15 (Reed 4)
Turnovers: Bracken 28, Mason 9
Records: Bracken County 10-21, Mason County 18-11