Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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March 13, 2010

Rowan's dream run ends in semifinal

BOWLING GREEN--Although the fairy tale didn't end with a crown, Rowan County's journey was magical while it lasted.

The Lady Vikings ran into a merciless Louisville Mercy team that attacked with furious pressure.

Mercy never totally put Rowan County away, but a defining second-quarter run and turnovers spelled the end of Rowan's run. The Lady Jaguars beat the Lady Vikings 53-45 in the semifinals of the Houchens Industries KHSAA Sweet 16 Girls' State Basketball Tournament Saturday morning at Western Kentucky University's E.A. Diddle Arena.

“It's tough to end the season like this, but we came a long way,” said a teary-eyed Rowan County forward Jenna Kiser, one of the team's four seniors. “It was my dream to play Saturday morning and we did it.”

Kiser was instrumental as Rowan County refused to go away quietly, pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds.

The Lady Vikings outrebounded Mercy 45-35, but the Lady Jaguars earned more possessions by forcing 30 turnovers, several of which came during a 17-1 spurt that began in the first quarter and spanned into the second.

Kaitlyn Muncy, Rowan County's senior point guard, had important baskets to give Rowan County an early 7-3 advantage, but Mercy's 1-2-2 pressure was devastating.

“I've never seen anything like that before in my life,” Muncy said. “I don't usually turn the ball over. They caught me off guard. We've never seen that type of defense before.”

“We wanted a possession-by-possession game,” said Rowan County coach Scott Tackett. “We had the game where we wanted it after the first quarter, but they gave us fits with their athleticism.”

Tackett knew the Lady Jaguars would apply maximum pressure, but it was an unfamiliar look for the Lady Vikings.

“With our athleticism, teams don't press us in (the 16th Region),” Tackett said. “Mercy, with their length and athleticism, that's something we hadn't seen in a while. You can't simulate that kind of pressure in practice.

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