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Anderson County battled 21st-ranked Paul Laurence Dunbar in a tough 48-37 home-court loss in girls’ high school basketball action Friday night.
The Lady Bearcats had a fighting chance early on. Junior Kara Yeaste hit a 3-pointer to close the first quarter, putting her team ahead 12-9 as the quarter came to a close.
But the tide soon changed in the first-ever matchup between the programs. Dunbar tied the score at 19 to end the first half.
Dunbar came out on fire to start the second half. Dunbar’s junior Ebony Rowe demonstrated why she is considered one of Kentucky’s best prospects, scoring just two under her 20-points per game average to lead all scorers.
But Anderson Coach Tony Kays never gave up on his team: “We’ve been behind before and we have come back before.” But at the buzzer ending the third quarter, Dunbar led 32-25.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Yeaste took a pass from senior Tiffany Davenport, then shook off her Dunbar defender, pulled up and swished a three. On Anderson’s next offensive possession, Davenport sank her own three, making the possibility of a come-back seem real.
With 4:16 to go, Dunbar had increased its lead to eight and the final two minutes were a constant back-and-forth with multiple turnovers by both teams. Senior Makenzie Stoner left everything she had out on the floor, fouling out of the game with 35.5 seconds remaining in the game.
According to senior leading scorer Lindsay Fultz, “We didn’t play well and never got in sync as a team. None of us were on the same page.”
While Fultz took the loss hard, she did have praise for her teammates:“Kara Yeaste really attacked the basket at the end of the game.” Yeaste and Fultz each had the team-high nine points for the game. Fultz also had seven rebounds, second only to seventh-grader Eriel McKee, who had eight.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the game was the difference in defense after Tuesday’s Mercer County victory. Kays acknowledged, “Our help defense wasn’t as good. But give Dunbar credit, they made the plays.”
Kays’ face was lined with disappointment in his post-game interview. He said, “(Our) effort was there. Maybe we were too tight. We couldn’t get shots to fall early and it just snowballed from there. ... It wasn’t meant to be. We’re not going to dwell on it. It’s just a regular-season game.”
In the preliminary game, the Anderson junior varsity defeated Dunbar, 40-36.
E-mail Marian Cooper at email@example.com.