PEDRO – After finishing the regular season 15-6, the Minford Lady Falcons were only concerned with one game, the one against the Chesapeake Lady Panthers. Regular season records were pointless Saturday afternoon at Rock Hill High School, where the Lady Falcons showed they plan on playing a lot more basketball this year, defeating the Lady Panthers in the sectional tournament.
After losing to Chesapeake seven days earlier, Minford avenged their loss, defeating the Lady Panthers 46-32.
The beginnings of the game were gloomy for the Lady Falcons. Plagued by some missed shots and several turnovers, the Lady Falcons found themselves down 12-4 late in the first quarter.
Shortly before the end of the quarter, Erin Daniels came up with a score for the Minford to cut the Lady Panther lead to only six points, 12-6, as the first quarter came to an end.
Everything began to click for Minford in the second quarter. The Lady Falcons were able to move the ball with ease, and made up for their first quarter mistakes.
Chesapeake was outscored by 16 points in the quarter, as the Lady Falcons added 17 points in the second, five of which came from senior Emma Shepherd who has been battling an ankle injury for the past 10 days.
As the game went into halftime, the Lady Falcons had erased the Lady Panthers’ six point lead, and took a 10-point lead of their own, 23-13.
Chesapeake would get a reprieve from their second quarter nightmare, as the third quarter was much more favorable to the Lady Panthers.
Dominique Murphy and Natalee Hall would account for 12 of the 15 Lady Panthers’ points in the third quarter. Murphy found favor from three-point land, hitting two three-point shots in the period. Hall added two two-point buckets of her own, and shot a perfect two-for-two from the free throw line.
Minford’s Ashley Blankenship began to show a presence in the paint during the third quarter. The freshman brought down several big rebounds for Minford and hit two free throws after drawing a momentum killing foul.
Zoe Doll sparked excitement from the Minford bench as well, bringing a much needed burst of energy to the team.
Minford enjoyed another productive quarter in the fourth, ultimately killing the hopes of the Chesapeake Lady Panthers. The Lady Falcons outscored the Lady Panthers by 10 points in the period, securing their 46-32 win over Chesapkeake.
“I couldn’t ask for a better team win,” Minford coach Scott Caudill said. “I mean just getting Emma (Shepherd) and Abby (Grasso) back playing for the first time. Emma has been out for 10 days, and missed a game, and Abby, she’s just the energy of the team.”
Caudill believes nerves got to his team in the first quarter, but they were able to calm down and stay focused on the game.
“We were in that first quarter, and they came out zoning us, and we weren’t hitting shots,” Caudill said.
Great play came off the Minford bench, keeping the team solidified during the dark first quarter, while also helping squelch potential Chesapeake comebacks.
“I really want to brag on Zoe Doll,” Caudill said. “We put her in there, and I tell you what, she made me look like a coach that has been making a mistake all year long.”
Caudill said Doll has been working hard for weeks, and has done a tremendous job getting the team prepped for their opponents.
“She stepped up really big for us,” Caudill said. “She hit two really big shots, right when we needed her. She lit a big spark for us.
We’ve got girls that’s been on the bench all year long that could step in and help us out,” Caudill said. “I tell you what, I’m huge on Zoe Doll tonight. I’m buying that girl a pizza. She deserves every bit of it.”
Blankenship was another big help off the bench.
“She played phenomenal once she got in the game,” Caudill said. “She just battled all night long.”
The Lady Falcons will have to wait another seven days until they get to play again. Minford will take on Albany Alexander at Waverly High School on Saturday February 20th at noon.
“These girls are still hungry to play,” Caudill said. “They’re not ready to end. They’re having a lot of fun.”
Minford – Daniels 5-5-15, Blankenship 3-3-9, Sheppherd 2-2-7, Doll 2-0-5, Grasso 1-2-4, Risner 1-0-3, Hammond 1-0-3
Chesapeake – Hall 5-5-15, Murphy 3-0-9, Curry 3-0-7, Jones 0-1-1
Three-point field goals – Minford 4 (Risner, Shepherd, Hammond, Doll) Chesapeake 4 (Murphy 3, Curry)
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.