By Lori Cathey
Saturday afternoon the Rutherford Lady Pirates and McKenzie battled it out for the Blue Suede Invitational Girls A Championship, but the Lady Pirates fell 43-35 to the Lady Rebels.
Rutherford defeated Bethel Springs 31-16 in the opening round of the tournament and won Jan. 21 in overtime against Savannah Christian 31-26 in the semifinals. The Lady Pirates had three players named to the All-Tournament team; they were Libby Goad, Sayde Wright and Evyn Cantrell.
In the championship gamem the Lady Pirates jumped out to an early 8-5 lead behind a steal and lay-up by Libby Goad, lay-up from Evyn Cantrell and pull up jumper and lay-up by Maya Turner. McKenzie followed with a 10-2 run to take a 15-10 lead. Cantrell made a pull up jumper with three seconds to end the quarter with McKenzie leading 15-12.
McKenzie opened the second quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers from Briley Auvenshire and Kylie Reynolds to extend the Lady Rebels’ lead to 21-12. The Lady Pirates battled back with a 6-2 run to pull within four points behind a pull up jumper and a 3-point shot from Cantrell and offensive rebound putback by Turner. McKenzie held a 23-19 lead at the half.
The Lady Pirates came out cold in the third quarter and were outscored 15-5, with Cantrell scoring all five points for Rutherford. McKenzie took a 38-24 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Pirates outscored McKenzie 11-9 in the fourth quarter with Ellie Carson, Goad and Cantrell all scoring in the quarter but lost 43-35 to McKenzie in the championship game.
Leading the way for the Lady Pirates was Evyn Cantrell with 20 points. Libby Goad added 7 points; Maya Turner, 6 points and Ellie Carson, 2 points.
Bethel Springs started the Blue Suede Invitational by taking a 9-8 lead at the end of the first quarter with Rutherford’s Evyn Cantrell scoring 5 of the 8 points on a 3-pointer and a lay-up. Carly Warren added a 3-pointer.
In the second quarter, both teams scored four points with Sayde Wright scoring all the points for Rutherford. The Lady Pirates were down by a point at the half.
The Lady Pirates held Bethel Springs scoreless in the third quarter with Lexus Kemp, Libby Goad and Cantrell all scoring to give Rutherford a 22-13 lead. Rutherford outscored Bethel Springs 9-3 in the fourth quarter, with Ellie Carson, Maya Turner, Goad and Cantrell scoring for the Lady Pirates.
Scoring for the Lady Pirates was Evyn Cantrell with 12 points; Ellie Carson and Lexus Kemp with 4 points each; Libby Goad and Carly Warren with 3 points each; and Maya Turner, 1 point.
Monday night’s game between the Lady Pirates and Savannah Christian was a nail biter. Both teams came out playing hard for an 8-8 tie to end the first quarter. Libby Goad hit a 3-pointer; Evyn Cantrell and Sayde Wright also made baskets in the quarter.
The Lady Pirates were outscored 6-4 in the second quarter, with Wright and Cantrell each scoring a basket. Savannah Christian had a 14-12 lead at halftime.
The Lady Pirates came out in the third quarter and outscored Savannah Christian 7-6 to pull within a point (20-19). In the fourth quarter, all five points for the Lady Pirates were scored by Cantrell to force the game into overtime tied at 24-all.
In overtime, Maya Turner scored a basket, Cantrell was 4-of-4 from the free throw line and Goad added a free throw for a 31-26 victory to advance to the championship game. Evyn Cantrell was the Lady Pirates’ leading scorer with 19 points. Sayde Wright had 6 points; Libby Goad, 4 points and Maya Turner, 2 points.