FRANKTON – While the Madison County champion and third-place finisher were being decided at Lapel on Saturday, up the road in Frankton, the Eagles, Elwood, Anderson Prep and Liberty Christian battled it out for fifth and seventh places.
Despite a Lions omeback in the fourth quarter, the Jets held on to win their first Madison County Girls Basketball Tournament game, 67-60, and finish in seventh place. In the fifth-place game, the Eagles took off and never looked back in a 51-34 win over the Panthers.
From tipoff, the Jets took off and dominated the first half. Senior Madison Stamm went 2-of-3 from outside the arc in the first quarter, prompting APA to jump out to a 13-8 lead. By halftime the Jets seized a 16-point lead with senior Savannah Prewett leading the way with 14 points, followed by Stamm with 13.
“We wanted to come out and set the pace really quick,” APA head coach Jessica Hornocker said. “It didn’t turn out exactly the way we wanted it, but we took it the way it was. We just wanted to come out, work our offense and get everybody involved. That’s probably the best running of the ball and offense we’ve had all season.”
However, the second half was a new game for the Lions. After going 0-for-5 at the line in the first quarter, Liberty Christian shot 8-of-20 in the second half, along with draining three 3-pointers. In the fourth quarter, sophomore Mady Rees hit two big shots from deep to pull the Lions within one and pick up their first lead of the game. She led Liberty Christian with 24 points.
“We made an adjustment to what they were doing in the fourth quarter, and we hit a couple shots,” Liberty Christian coach Todd Hill said. “Any time you hit a couple shots one after another, they start falling. You start getting some momentum and believing, and good things can happen to you.”
However, as Liberty Christian stormed back, APA held its own. Stamm went 2-for-2 at the line, pushing the Jets’ lead to four and securing APA’s historic win. Prewett lead the Jets with 24 points followed by Stamm with 20.
“This year has been great,” Prewett said. “Freshman year, we only won two games, so getting this first win in the county tournament and my first win over Liberty is great. I wanted to get it one time, and I got it.”
The Eagles quickly proved why they are undefeated at home. Frankton went 4-of-5 from outside the arc in the first three minutes. The high-powered offense led to a 28-15 lead at the half. Sophomore Lauryn Bates had nine points off of three 3s in the first quarter alone.
“We try to get shots put up every day in practice, and we have a lot of kids who stay after or come in early to put up those shots,” Frankton head coach Stephen Hamaker said. “We’ve got confidence in all of them to knock those shots down. It was a barrage of 3s to get things going.”
However, while the Eagles built and held a sizable lead, Elwood would not go away. Sophomore Jaleigh Crawford kept the fight alive as she led all scorers with 21 points. Her efforts allowed the Panthers to hack away at Frankton’s lead in the second half.