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Heading into the Girls’ 11th District Basketball Tournament, the Meade County Lady Waves are one confident bunch.
Shooting the ball well can have that type of affect on a team.
In seven of their final nine games, the top-seeded Lady Waves (19-9) hit eight or more 3-pointers as they closed the regular season by winning 8-of-9. Meade County has shot better than 40 percent from the field in six of those games.
“We feel pretty good right now,” Meade County coach Josh Hurt said. “Starting with the Breckinridge County game over there, we’ve been shooting the ball phenomenally. Anytime you can put the ball in the hoop, it makes you look so much better.
“What we’ve been able to do is share the basketball,” Hurt said. “Our interior passing, from the inside to outside, has been fantastic. We get the ball inside and we get the kick-out to the outside and we’ve been able to get really wide-open looks. It doesn’t hurt to have a couple of kids who can put you on their backs and carry you.”
With the way they had been playing, Hurt figured the Lady Waves were due to have an off-night – or two – before the district tournament. They shot 29.4 percent (10-of-34) in a loss to North Hardin and 34.6 percent (18-of-52) in a win Friday over Central Hardin.
Sophomore guard Morgan Turner said it’s a good thing Meade County had off-nights in the regular season and not in the postseason.
“I think getting a bad game before a bunch of big games is a blessing,” she said. “It doesn’t happen often, but once or twice we’ll have a bad game and I’m glad we got rid of that now.”
The Lady Waves are optimistic they’ll get back on track at 6:30 tonight, when they face the fourth-seeded Frederick Fraize Lady Aces (1-19) in the district tournament semifinals at Hancock County.
Meade County swept Frederick Fraize, winning both games by an average of 63 points.
“Monday will be a good time for us to work on some thing,” Hurt said. “It’ll be a good time to run some sets and get some people some looks. Everybody will get an opportunity to play. It’ll be an opportunity for us to get rolling and get a little confidence.”
Which the Lady Waves hope to carry over into Thursday’s championship game, where they could meet the second-seeded Lady Hornets (16-10) and Austin Peay-bound center Beth Rates. Hancock County and third-seeded Breckinridge County (6-21) meet in the late semifinal at 8 tonight.
Meade County and Hancock County split their games, and the teams flipped a coin for the No. 1 seed.
“If they were to win and we were to win, that district final will be fantastic,” Hurt said. “They’ve got a Division-I center in Beth Rates and five of their top six players are seniors. They’re experienced. We’re starting two sophomores and two juniors, and coming off the bench with more sophomores.
It’s always been nip and tuck between us. If you like basketball, it should be an entertaining game.”
Through 25 games, Rates was averaging 14.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game for the Lady Hornets, who have lost three of their last four games.
“Beth is a tremendous player,” Hurt said. “I think she’s one of the top 10 or 15 in the state. She’s a very talented kid and I’ve enjoyed watching her for four years, but I’ll be glad when she graduates and goes to Austin Peay. I will root for the Lady Govs and hope that she does well down there. We wish her the best. Hopefully we can beat her once, maybe two more times.”
Once the Lady Waves get past the district tournament, Turner feels they can win next week’s 3rd Region Tournament in Owensboro.
But they know they’ve got take care of business this week first.
“We worked so hard in the offseason and during the season that I think we have a shot,” Turner said. “We’re a much more mature team than we were last year and we’ve grown so much and we’re strong together. We’ve been able to play with everyone we’ve faced. There’s not been one game that we couldn’t win. We’re just all meshing and we’re all on the same page. It’s a great thing. We have such great camaraderie on off the court.
“I think the region is wide open,” she added. “I know Owensboro Catholic is the favorite, but we played them to five points in the summer without our starting lineup. That showed me we have so much potential. I’m looking forward to that challenge.”
Josh Claywell can be reached at (270) 505-1752 or firstname.lastname@example.org.