By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
March 6, 2013 —
The East Carter girls basketball teams saw its season end abruptly in the first round of the 16th Region Tournament to the same team that beat them last year.
Lewis County rallied to defeat East 53-50 to advance to the semifinals of the tournament.
Last season, the Lady Lions did the same thing, defeating the Lady Raiders 49-33.
“They made some big shots when they needed to,” said East Carter Coach Hager Easterling. “I thought we left so many loose balls out there on the floor, ones that we normally get and convert on the other end.”
Junior Bryana Greenhill, who was injured last year, shined on the big stage scoring 20 points and grabbing six rebounds.
Easterling said if Greenhill had played last year it would have been the difference of seven more wins.
Easterling’s squad finishes 2012-13 season at 24-8.
“She was attacking the basket and getting to the rim early,” Easterling said. “That showed what kind of player she is and she’ll be even better next year.”
“Our kids fought … right to the end,” Easterling said. “I've coached 33 years now, and they are one of the best groups of kids I've ever coached.”
East Carter trailed by three with 23 seconds left in the ball game. After Lewis’ McKenzie Thompson missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw, East had a shot to tie the ball game.
Sophomore Alexis Pennington checked in before the free throw, curled around a defender and got a wide open three-point basket that fell in the bottom of the net.
But the shot did not count as Easterling called a timeout. After the timeout, Kelsey Stumbo caught the inbound pass and took got a good shot and it just didn’t go down.”
Despite the season-ending loss, Easterling gives his squad credit for leaving everything out on the court.
“There’s not a game all year where I’ve been disappointed in their effort,” Easterling said. “They fought their tails off and they’re so unselfish. I love coaching them.”
In her final game in a Lady Raider uniform, senior Kerie Steele scored six points and grabbed 13 rebounds.
Kelsey Stumbo scored 10 points and pulled down eight boards.
Megan Stickler had eight points and five rebounds, Haley Hall had four and Kristen Mayo had two points.
Lewis County lost in the semifinals against Ashland.
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.