LADY BEARS DOWN ROCKCASTLE, KY
GREENEVILLE -- Mt. Juliet High earned a chance to defend its GreenBank Ladies' Classic title by rallying in the second half to beat Rockcastle County (Ky.) 60-47 in the tournament's first semifinal matchup Thursday night at Hal Henard Gym.
Rockcastle County led 28-19 at halftime. The Lady Bears made some key adjustments and came out of the locker room a team ona mission.
Caya Williams scored 22 of her game-leading 26 points over the final two periods to lead Mt. Juliet back to the championship game for the second straight year.
Mt. Juliet coach Chris Fryer said the biggest adjustment his team made was the Lady Bears started playing the way they capable.
"Really we just challenged our kids to have a little pride. I thought we laid down in the first half. We didn't play Mt. Juliet basketball,"Fryer said. "In the second half our press helped us a little. We challenged our big girl (Williams) to take it to their post girl. In the first half we were trying to shoot trick shots instead of Mt. Juliet shots."
The Lady Bears shot 8-of-22 from the floor in the opening half. They hit 16-of-22 after the break.
The Lady Rockets (9-1) had the best of it in the first half, leading12-8 at the end of the first and spreading it in the second quarter.Shanlee Burton led Rockcastle County with 16 points. Standout SaraHammond was limited to four points for the game.
Williams finished with a double-double, pulling in a game-leading 10rebounds. The Lady Bears (13-1) worked the ball well. As a team, Mt. Juliet had 21 assists. Helen Mitchner had eight assists and she also had four steals.
Mt. Juliet is a two-time Ladies' Classic champion, having won last year and in 2004. It will be the Lady Bears' fourth appearance in the championship game. They finished as tournament runnerup in 2007.
Fryer said Mt. Juliet is happy to get the chance to defend its tournament crown.
"It's a privilege," he said. "We love coming up here and being a part of this prestigious tournament. It's awesome for us to be in thefinals. We are excited about it, and we are looking forward to the challenge."