MVP Sports Channel

Hopkinsville Lady Tigers Advance to State Quarterfinals

Photo courtesy of Joe Imel, Bowling Green Daily News

The Hopkinsville Lady Tigers are relishing their first trip to the KHSAA Girls Sweet 16 this century, and aren’t willing to go home without making some noise, despite a  furious comeback by first region champion Marshall County.

“We knew it was going to be a really tough game,” Hopkinsville head coach Tonya Wells said. “We know their strengths, they know our strengths, and we thought coming into the game that it would be much better to play an opponent we had already played this year. I think the confidence knowing we could play with Marshall County was huge.”

After giving up the first score to the Lady Marshals, Murray State University commit Christy Soldo scored six straight points as the team jumped out to a six-point, 11-5 lead in the first four minutes of the game on a three pointer by sophomore Haley Cook. Marshall County answered with an 11-5 run of their own to knot the score at 16 apiece through the first quarter.

Cook opened the second quarter with a three pointer, before senior Trina Cager followed suit to begin a back to back to back three-point series where the Marshall’s Mariah McKenty answered with a long range three, and Cook wrapped up her 10-point half with another trey to put the Tigers up 25-20.

The two teams went back and forth through the remainder of the half, where Soldo nailed a jumper to give the Tigers a 31-26 advantage going into the locker room.

Hopkinsville opened the second half with a 9-0 run to go up 40-26, which sparked a run by the Lady Marshals, where they scored 10 straight points, but the Lady Tigers held off the rally, and held the same five-point margin at the end of three quarters.

The final stanza saw Soldo continue her dominance with a jumper to open scoring, but the Lady Marshals wouldn’t go away, and took over with an 11-3 run to wipe out the 14-point lead and take their first lead of the game since the 7:10 mark of the first quarter at 52-51 with 1:09 remaining.

Wells called a timeout to regroup the Tigers, and Cook missed a close-range jumper, but Soldo was there again to grab the rebound and put it back to retake the lead for good. Taylor Meadows fouled Cager with eight seconds left, where she hit the first, but missed the second, however the rebound went off the Marshals to give Hopkinsville the ball. Soldo was sent to the free throw line for the first time of the day and nailed both shots to give the Tigers the final edge, 56-52. Marshall Co. had one final attempt to score a three and get fouled, but couldn’t get the ball inbounds, then had trouble getting an open look, before time expired without getting a shot off. Soldo was named player of the game for her 24-point, seven-rebound performance, while McKenty led the Lady Marshals with 15 points and four rebounds.

“I thought we came out strong,” Wells said. “We got our 14-point lead, Marshall County made a run like all good teams are supposed to do, and we withstood the run and came out with the win. In the end, a win is a win and we’re moving on to the next game.”

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