BOWLING GREEN--Rowan County set out a lofty goal at the start of the season, but very few teams actually accomplish what the Lady Vikings were going after.
Four, to be exact.
Rowan County tackled a rare feat, achieving the season-long mission of “Playing for Saturday morning” by knocking off Clay County, 48-31, in the quarterfinal round of the Houchens Industries KHSAA Sweet 16 Girls' State Basketball Tournament at Western Kentucky University's E.A. Diddle Arena Friday.
The Lady Vikings became the first 16th Region team to advance to the state semifinals since 2006, when Rose Hill Christian fell in the final game.
They also rendered their coach speechless. Kind of.
“There's not many times in my life that I've been speechless,” said Rowan County coach Scott Tackett. “We've just had a special feeling all week long.”
Rowan County (22-8) broke an 8-8 first-quarter tie and never again lost the lead, thanks to a surprising 3-point shooting barrage.
The Lady Vikings went 11-for-37 from the field, including 7-for-14 3-pointers. During the second and third quarters, Rowan County made only seven shots, but six of them were 3s.
“I wish I could say that was something I expected,” Tackett said. “I do think we have a good shooting basketball team. If you give us a decent look, we're gonna knock down some shots.”
Clay County (28-7) allowed Rowan County space on the perimeter, and the Lady Vikings took advantage.
Senior point guard Kaitlyn Muncy drained one of the team's three second-quarter 3-pointers to give the Lady Vikings a 16-9 lead.
Muncy, who had made five 3-pointers all season, sank two treys Friday. She had 12 points in 28 minutes.
Tackett thought that Clay County wanted to force the Lady Vikings to shoot from the perimeter.
“I think that was their game plan,” Tackett said. “When (Muncy) made her second three I looked over and (Clay County coach James Burchell) looked at his assistants and just threw his hands up.”
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