By Grant Stevens - Sports Editor
Dec. 12, 2012 — A Saturday night rematch special in Olive Hill saw the West Carter Lady Comets come close to its first win of the season, but as the old saying goes, “close, but no cigar.”
Despite a spirited third quarter comeback, the offensive bug once again bit West’s girls in the final period, falling to Rowan County, 40-30, in what was the epitome of a defensive struggle.
After both teams failed to score in the opening three minutes of play, Rowan County’s Taylor Conn connected on a three from the right wing that made for the game’s first points.
With an offense that has been struggling to manufacture points, West Carter sophomore forward Morgan Berry tallied her team’s only points for the period, tying the game at three apiece.
In what could be coined as a defensive struggle following the first quarter, the game was a matter of runs and Rowan County made theirs in the second quarter.
After taking a 7-3 lead to end the first period on a Hannah Bandura lay in, the Lady Vikes kept up the defensive stranglehold on the Lady Comets in the second, while picking things up on the offensive end.
An initial opening basket by Berry and two free throws by senior center Megan Centers were met in exchange with a drive by Rowan’s Faith Conn and another three by Taylor Conn.
A 13-7 advantage midway through the second for Rowan County quickly flourished into what appeared to be a route, as Rowan closed the period with a 15-6 run, highlighted by two more baskets from Faith Conn and another three from Taylor Conn.
West Carter Head Coach Bart Stevens said the first half seemed to have a lid on the basket for his team.
“We really struggled there in the opening 16 minutes,” Stevens said. “I thought our defense was pretty solid, but it was very difficult for us to find a way to score.”
With Rowan leading 28-13 at the half, the coin flipped in the third period, and West began its slow climb back into the game.
Rowan’s Colleen Helvey opened the quarter with her team’s only basket of the third before back-to-back threes by Berry and senior guard Brooke Callihan brought West within nine at 30-21.
Three free throws by Berry, followed by a jump shot and layup by Centers were the only points from the 3:18 mark on, as what was once a blowout was now a competitive matchup, with Rowan County clinging onto a 32-28 lead.
Points came at a premium the final eight minutes of play.
West Carter only managed two points in the quarter, while a nice basket and foul for Taylor Conn, along with a dish from Candace Justice to Bandura under the basket would be Rowan’s offensive highlights.
The key to the game turned out to be free throws, where the Lady Vikings completed 5-of-7 attempts for the period.
Taylor Conn led the way for Rowan County with 13 points, while Faith Conn had 11, Bandura tallied six and Helvey had five.
Berry led West Carter with 13, Centers had six and Callihan contributed five for the evening.
Stevens said another dry spell came at the wrong time for his squad.
“This one hurts,” Stevens said. “I really thought we had a chance to win this one tonight, and we had opportunities to take a lead there in the fourth, but you can’t go on a cold streak like that and expect to win games.”
West Carter (0-5) returned home last night for a home matchup against district opponent Elliott County (1-4) after press time.
Grant Stevens can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.