MINFORD – The seniors on the Minford Lady Falcons basketball team were sent away with a win on Senior Night Thursday evening at Minford High School. The Lady Falcons controlled the game against their SOC II rival Waverly Lady Tigers.
Shortly after the younger Lady Falcons and Minford fans sent off the seniors during their last home game of the season, the home team came away with a win over a very talented Waverly Lady Tigers team, 58-49.
“This was a very emotional win for us,” Minford coach Scott Caudill said. “We were playing for our seniors on Senior Night. This is a very close group of girls.”
Caudill’s squad completed their regular season conference schedule Thursday night.
“Waverly is a very athletic team, and Laken is a tough player,” Caudill said. “We are just glad to finish conference play with a win.”
Waverly’s Laken Smith had yet another fantastic showing this season. She led all players in scoring, finishing the night with 24 points. She hit two big threes in the second quarter, to keep her team in the game, and also came away with nine rebounds, three steals, and three assists.
While the Lady Tigers relied heavily on the offensive production by Smith, the Lady Falcons were fueled by Erin Daniels and Marissa Risner.
Daniels led Minford with 19 points in the win over Waverly. She shot a fantastic 90% from the free throw line, hitting nine of her 10 attempts.
Risner shined in the second quarter, where she scored eight of her 16 points.
Though the night was definitely emotional for the Lady Falcons, it was also filled with celebration for the team’s two seniors, who played their last basketball game at the Minford gymnasium.
“Emma Shepherd and Ali Hammond have been terrific leaders for us,” Caudill said.
The game did have a scary moment at the end of the first quarter. Legendary Minford softball coach Diane Daniels was taken to the hospital. Coach Daniels was at the game rooting on the Lady Falcons, and her granddaughter Erin.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Diane Daniels,” Caudill expressed. “There was a debate whether or not to even continue the game, but Diane is a very tough Hall of Fame coach that’s led Minford softball to the State Championship. There’s no way Coach Daniels would’ve wanted to discontinue the game.”
Daniels led the Lady Falcon softball team for 16 years, 1986-2002. During her 16 years as head coach, Daniels’ teams won seven SOC Championships, eight sectional championships, four district championships, and three regional championships. Her 1997 softball team finished as state runner-ups. She was also named the SOC coach of the year on three separate occasions.
Up next for Scott Caudill and his Lady Falcons will be the Chesapeake Lady Panthers on Saturday afternoon at Ironton High School as a part of the Tackett’s Body Shop Shootout. Tipoff is set to be at about 1:45 p.m.
In an interesting twist, the two teams are paired up to face off in the sectional tournament next Saturday, February 13th, at Rock Hill High School.
Minford – Daniels 5-9-19, Risner 6-3-16, Grasso 4-1-9, Blankenship 4-0-8, Puckett 1-0-2, Shepherd 0-2-2, Pica 1-0-2
Waverly – Smith 9-4-24, Green 3-2-8, Prall 3-0-6, Perdue 1-3-5, Wiseman 1-0-2, Newland 1-0-2, Remington 1-0-2
Three-point field goals – Minford 1 (Risner) Waverly 2 (Smith 2)
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.