Burch and Lenore are big rivals, so it was no surprise they met this past Saturday for the Mingo County Middle School championship at the Williamson Field House. Despite the Lady Rangers’ dominate first half performance, the Lady Bulldogs used a big second half from Bam Mosby to comeback and claim the title in a close one, 32-28.
Lenore head coach Aileen Perry’s crew outscored the Bulldogs in the first period of play. Makenzie Browning put the Lady Rangers up 7-4 with 17.4 seconds left by going one of two at the free-throw line.
The guard exploded in the first half, scoring nine of her game-high 14 points in the first half. After Burch’s Bam Mosby cut the lead to one at 7-6 after her drive to the basket with 5:45 left before the break, Browning answered with back-to-back baskets. The first, with 5:28 to play, she hit a pull-up jumper on the wing to give Lenore a three point lead 9-6. The ensuing possession, she doubled that lead with a three from near the same spot with 5:00 to play before the half.
Lenore looked to be in the driver’s seat heading into the locker room with a 15-8 lead.
However, something happened inside that locker room.
Burch head coach Greg “Hootie” Smith apparently gave a rousing speech to his players at the half and made the right adjustments, coming out on fire in the third, thanks, in part, to Mosby. She was everywhere in the third period. She went on to score six of her team-high 11 points in the quarter alone. She also nabbed nearly every rebound coming off the glass.
The Lady Bulldogs played much more aggressive in the third, after struggling with Lenore’s press in the first half. And it showed as they outscored the Lady Rangers 16-8 in the third.
Mosby took over as she battled hard underneath and help cut the lead to 15-14 after a tough bucket with 3:38 left. Bella Hall gave the Lady Bulldogs just their second lead of the night after going two-for-two from the line with 2:52 left in the period. Burch held a one point advantage 16-15.
Lenore recaptured the lead with Bailee Hall’s jumper with 2:21 to go. Browning was fouled on her three point attempt with under 2:13 to play. She converted two of three to put the Lady Rangers up 19-18.
Burch’s G. Akers scored in the paint with 1:25 left to go back up by one 20-19. The most amazing sequence in the game happened at the 1:01 mark.
Mosby, after being fouled in the paint, scored the basket and went to the line with a chance at a three point play. She missed the free throw, but was able to somehow acquire the rebound and was fouled again as she went up with it. Mosby also missed the free throw on the second three-point play attempt, however, muscled the rebound once again and drew the foul with 48.7 seconds to play. She would miss both free throws giving Burch a 24-21 lead.
Lenore’s Haven Deskins opened the fourth quarter with a three-point play of her own. She missed the free throw attempt, but cut the Lady Bulldog lead to one at 24-23 with 5:44 left in the game.
Burch countered with back-to-back baskets by J. Warren and M. Estep. Her drive to the basket with 4:55 to play pushed the Burch lead out to 28-23. Estep struck again with 3:48 to play with another jumper to extend the lead 30-24.
Browning was fouled on her drive to the hoop with 3:11 to go, and converted the three point play to make 30-27.
The Lady Rangers fought hard, but in the end it wasn’t enough as Burch went on for the 32-28 win and the county championship.
Burch- Bam Mosby 11, G. Akers 6, M. Estep 6, V. Akers 5, J. Warren 2.
Lenore- Makenzie Browning 14, Bailee Hall 8, Mattie Colegrove 2, Haven Deskins 2, Kailyn Colegrove 2.