The Meade County Ladywave Basketball team had three days to prepare for their Region 3 Semi-Final game against the Owensboro Catholic Lady Aces, which took place on Mar 6 at the Owensboro Sports Center in Owensboro. Meade knew they were in for a battle against this high-powered team since they lost to them early in the season by a score of 59-67. Since that loss back in Dec., Meade has matured immensely and blended very well as a team, making them the favorite over Owensboro Catholic.
“Coming into this game we knew that if we had a chance to win this game, we were going to have to keep them under 50. They are a great team in transition, so our goal was to make them earn every basket and not give them anything easy.” Coach Hackert said of Meade’s game plan.
Both teams started the game trying to figure out the best way to attack the other’s offense. Meade came out in a box and chase defense with sophomore Aubrey Hardesty tasked with very slow, which seemed unusual for both as they are normally chasing Owensboro Catholic’s leading scorer, senior Hannah McKay. Owensboro Catholic did them same by chasing senior Kendall Wingler and keeping her from getting off any quality shots. The slow pace may have helped Meade out in the start, as they got out in front early leading O-Cath by six midway through the first. After a Timeout, O-Cath slowly began to come back on Meade, closing the gap to only trail by one point, with the score 8-7 at the end of one. In the second period both teams had their scoring spurts. For Meade it would be junior D Griffen that would shine under the basket. Griffen scored four consecutive shots during a Meade 10-5 run. That run gave Meade their largest lead of the night, 18-12. However, that lead would soon diminish as O-Cath’s senior guard, Isabella Henning, hit 4-of-5 from the floor scoring 10 second-quarter points that sparked O-Cath’s offense to stomp on the gas pedal. Henning hit a 3-pointer that sent O-Cath on 14-2 run over the final four minutes of the half. O-Cath grabbed the lead over Meade, spreading out to six-points to lead the Ladywaves by a score of 26-20 at the half.
“I thought the girls did a great job at limiting McKay from getting the ball, I think the only points she had were put backs under the basket in the first half. So, I think our defensive execution was really good,” Coach Hackert said. “McKay is a fabulous player, and we tried to keep her under control as much as possible.”
Meade did do a great job at keeping McKay under control during the first half. Their defensive plan held her to only six-points, but in the second half, Meade was going to have to put more pressure on Henning as she was O-Cath’s leading shot maker. Meade came out of the half switching up their defense that disrupted O-Cath’s offensive game plan that forced them to make errors that Meade quickly capitalized on to get back in the game. Meade closed the gap on O-Cath to within two-points, but O-Cath would come back to spread the lead out once again. This type of play played out for the entire third period. Three times during the period, Meade got to within two-points of O-Cath, but then, O-Cath would answer each time and spread their lead back out to five or six-points. By the end of the third, Meade closed to within three-points of O-Cath, (34-31) as they headed into the final eight minutes, where one team will go on to play on Sunday, and the other will have their season end.
O-Cath came out in the fourth, mashing the gas pedal to the floor. O-Cath scored seven of the first nine points of the period, but Meade had a spark from seventh-grader Peyton Bradley, who nailed a 3-pointer after coming out of a timeout. But that spark was quickly put out when O-Cath came roaring back to score the game’s final nine points that sealed their ticket to play in the Region 3 Championship game while sending the Meade County Ladywaves home.
“Sometimes when you play a team of this caliber you have to make some adjustments. We had to slow the game down because they’re a terrific team in transition. They have a lot of veteran players, a lot of experience, a lot of tradition, and I thought that showed up for them down the stretch — but I’m very proud of the way we battled.” Coach Hackert said after the game. “I can’t say enough about the maturity of this team, and how far they have come from the start of the season.”
A lot of that maturity came form the Ladywaves lone senior, Kendal Wingler, who now holds two school basketball records and has set a high standard for Meade County Basketball players to strive for. Coach Hackert talked about her lone senior and what it means to have coached her.
“Kendall is a special type of player, and I can’t say enough about her. She’s an icon in Meade County Basketball that played her last game tonight. I was really proud of our fans that gave her the love she deserved when she came off the floor. She has a great career ahead of her and will be missed. She took us on her back for a few years, but like I told our juniors tonight, this is your team now. So I am excited to see what the future holds for us, and I have no doubt that we will be right back here again next year battling to the very end.”
Box score 1 2 3 4 F
Owensboro Catholic 7 19 8 15 49
Meade County 8 12 11 5 36