PIKEVILLE, KY. — For the first time in school history the Lawrence Co. Lady Bulldogs are headed to the GIRLS BASKETBALL STATE TOURNAMENT after defeating Pikeville 50-49 in a true ‘barn burner’ Sunday afternoon in the 15th Region championship game at the Appalachian Wireless Arena.
Back L to R Travis Feltner, Melinda Feltner, Makayla Artrip, Breanna Ramey, Lilly Fitzpatrick, Brylee Stafford, Addison Bloomfield, Abby Nelson, Kaison Ward, Sophie Adkins, Madison Artrip, Steve Curnutte, Katina Ward
Front L to R Lauren Sammons, Jada Patton, Emmalee Holt, Kensley Feltner, Leandra Curnutte, Abby Maynard, Caroline See, Emalynn Kitts
Pikeville started the game on an 8-2 run before Lawrence Co. settled down and tied the score at before Trinity Rowe hit a jumper to give the Panthers a 14-12 lead after one quarter.
In the second quarter Pikeville pushed the lead out to 7 points before the Bulldogs climbed right back into it and trailed 23-20 halfway through the second period. Pikeville would extend the lead out and would go into halftime with a 29-23 advantage.
After half the Panthers added to the lead and lead 42-30 late in the period and led by 10 points heading to the final stanza.
In the fourth, Lawrence Co. probably played their best defensive quarter all season holding the potent Panther offense to only one field goal and got huge three pointers from Abby Nelson and Kaison Ward to go on a 14-0 run and lead 46-42 with 1:26 left in the game.
The Panthers scored the next four points to tie it up before Feltner hit a shot with just under a minute left to give Lawrence Co. the lead.
Pikeville’s Kyera Thornsbury hit two free throws to tie it back up with 40 seconds to go. After a Bulldog timeout Feltner was fouled on a drive to the basket and made both free throws with 7.5 second left to make it 50-48.
Pikeville inbounded and took a deep three that missed but a foul was called underneath on LC with 1.3 seconds on the clock. Pikeville’s Jackson hit the first but missed the second and the ball went out of bounds off of Pikeville with 0.2 left on the clock. Lawrence Co. got the ball inbounds and the Bulldogs were headed to Lexington.
Kensley Feltner hit two free throws with 7.5 seconds left to send the Dawgs to Rupp Arena.
Lawrence Co. was led by tournament MVP Kensley Feltner with 24 points, Abby Nelson tallied 11 points, Leandra Curnutte and Sophie Adkins scored 6 points each and Kaison Ward had 3 key points.
The Bulldogs hit 2 three pointers and went 10 of 14 from the free throw line.
Pikeville was led by Trinity Rowe with 15 points, Leighan Jackson had 13 points, Kyera Thornsbury had 9 points, Kristen Whited and Riley Thiess had 5 points each, Kylie Hall had 2 points.
The Panthers hit 4 three pointers and went 11 of 17 from the charity stripe.
LCHS 12 11 9 18 = 50
PHS 14 15 13 7 = 49
Front L to R Leandra Curnutte, Abby Nelson, MVP Kensley Feltner, Sophie Adkins, Kaison Ward
Back L to R Kristen Whited, Kylie Alvin, Trinity Rowe, Kennedy Harvel, Laken Williams, Katie Marcum, Kylie Kinner, Karlea Stanley, Miley Riddle, Emalie Tackett, Hannah May
The Dawgs ( 30-5 ) will open up state tournament play at Rupp Arena on Wednesday at 1:30 versus Sacred Heart Academy ( 32-3 ) the defending back to back state champions. They are ranked #1 in the state and #10 in the nation.
Lawrence Co. Head Coach Melinda Feltner
“… Just so excited for our kids our program, our community and our fans that have supported us all year long. This team has been special from the beginning, they have played tough teams all year long. I thought we have been battle tested. I told them we are way past speech time and that they are ready for this very moment. We played a tough schedule for this very time, we got down double digits and in one of the timeouts we told them to leave everything they have on the floor. We have to get defensive stops, and rebound on both ends of the floor.”
“… Our kids responded to what we told them and they didn’t want this thing to end. So proud and happy for them, they have been together since they were little girls.”
“… When I took this over 10 years ago I wasn’t sure where it would take us but I knew we had great kids coming and little by little we built it up. Hard working kids that do whatever that you ask of them. And good people around you, good parents that support everything that you do. We have had long practices all year and they haven’t said a word about it. Great support system from everyone. So excited for everyone involved. And we are not done just yet. To finish it at Rupp Arena will be very special.”
“… It was a total team effort, we knew if they doubled Kensley the other girls would step up and knock down shots. We have two other girls that have gone over the 1,000 point mark this year and we have total confidence in all of them that they will contribute in one way or another.”
“… I can’t say enough about Bulldog nation, they were awesome today and have been all year long and we are so happy to take this region championship back to Lawrence Co.”
Lawrence Co. Senior Kensley Feltner
“… It feels pretty dang awesome to be headed to Rupp Arena. I feel like it’s something that every little kid growing up in Kentucky wants to do and we get to do it. It really is a dream come true.”
“… When we got behind I knew our girls wouldn’t quit, they are all full of fire and effort. Whenever we got down twelve we had to get back into the game on the defensive end, we had to get stops to give ourselves a chance. So proud of the effort from everyone. We just kept getting stop after stop and the momentum started to swing our way and we were able to get it done in the end.”