Updated: Mar 9, 2020
The Meade County High School Ladywave Basketball team could not have asked for a better scenario on Feb 27, as they played for the District 11 Championship. Meade faced off against their cross county rival Breckinridge County Lady Tigers, who have won the Championship from them for the last four years, but this year Meade had a mission. During the regular season, Meade came out on top of Breck by winning both meetings, so going into the Championship game each team knew what type of play they could expect. At the start of the game, it was no surprise when Breck’s defense came out targeting Meade’s senior Kendall Wingler, and Meade’s defense came out targeting Breck’s sophomore Isabel Grimes. The task of chasing Grimes fell to freshmen Mattie Clanton, who kept Grimes to only two-points in the first period.
“It was a lot of cover her, but we practiced for it all week,” Clanton said of her task, “We worked at keeping her from driving the lane, or shooting the three, that is what we faced last time we played them, so we wanted to limit it this time. At the start of the game, I was a little nervous, but once we got going everything seemed to calm down, and we got into a good rhythm.”
Meade would carry an eight-point lead into the second period, but Breck fought back, chipping away at Meade’s lead. Breck got to within four of Meade at one point during the second, but Meade rallied back before the half to regain their eight point lead, and headed to the locker room at the half with the score 34-26.
“We put up on the board three things we wanted to accomplish in this game. Those three things were: Defensive stops, Transition stops, and value the ball. We knew that if the girls could execute those three things that we would do well against this team,” Head Coach Dina Hackert said of the plan coming into the game, “If we could get some defensive stops and not allow them to score in transition, which I think they did a great job of executing. I also think that moving to a zone defense threw them off a little. I knew we were going to have to go to it at one point, so we just went ahead and did it.”
With Meade, switching up to the zone defense was making it difficult for Breck to shoot from the floor, or the three pointers they needed to close the gap. Breck did make another run at Meade’s lead after the half, but Meade continued to pace themselves, hitting the quality shots they needed to stay out in front. Meade would finish the third with a seven-point lead, but Breck had all the momentum going into the final period.
“This was one of the fastest paced games we’ve played this season. I think we executed our game plan well, and think that’s why we remained out in front of them the whole game,” junior Jenna Gallimore said of the game’s pace and team’s efforts, “We were making all the right shots, even though we got into a little bit of foul trouble, but it wasn’t anything we couldn’t recover from. I love playing against Breck, this teams brings out the best in all of us. They are a tough team and I don’t think I would’ve wanted to play anyone else for the Championship.”
In the final period, Breck began fouling Meade players, but it would not matter as Meade hit each shot to keep putting points on the board. With time running out, Breck just could not put any rallies together and would have to watch as Wingler dribbled the ball around mid-court, as the last remaining seconds clicked off the clock, giving Meade their first District Championship in four years, and halting Breck County’s reign with a final score of 69-61.
“Watching the clock click down with the last 30 seconds on the clock, and knowing that Grimes had fouled out of the game, I was like this is it, we can finally get it,” Wingler said after the game. “As I was looking over at the bench as the time ran out, to see the bench erupt and run on the to floor was just amazing. We knew that they were going to double team me, or do whatever to stop me, but you know we are a team and tonight the team came out and shined. Each one of them was knocking down shots when we needed them too. This was such an amazing season, and I cannot think of a better way to play my last game here at Meade County. BUT we still have more games to play.”
Coach Hackert and the rest of the coaching staff have done an amazing job with this young team. Hackert talked after the game on how far they have matured since the first game of the season, and how in a game as big as this one was, they all stepped up and did their job.
“This is an amazing team, I’m not sure if Kendall had two or four points at the half, but we were still up by ten. That’s part of our growth this year. The way our team trusts each other. Taking what is given, maturing, not panicking, finishing with free throws at the end is all part of the growth these ladies have done,” Hackert said after the game. “I am just super proud of the way each and every one of them played tonight, and the season for that matter, the way they came together and finished to bring home the Championship is just an awesome feeling. Super Proud.”
Box score 1 2 3 4 F
Breckinridge Co. 12 14 15 20 61
Meade County 20 14 14 21 69