Wednesday, January 25, 2017 - Updated: 8:38 AMBy virtue of their convincing 42-23 win over Benton, Massac County’s Junior High Lady Trojans found themselves assured of no worse than a fourth place finish in the SIJHSSA Class L [large schools] tournament held at Rend Lake College.
The Lady Trojans played Centralia Tuesday night for the right to advance to the season ending, Saturday title game.
Benton was concerned about Massac’s size going in, but they learned a little about Massac’s smaller people in the early going of the 28-minute match.
The “outfront” play of Ansley Bailey and Farrah Castleman helped stake Massac to a 16-3 first quarter lead and put Benton squarely behind the “eight ball.”
Benton also didn’t count on a terrific effort off the Trojan bench from Kendra Waldon. Waldon was invaluable on both ends of the floor — going after rebounds, steals and loose balls like a person possessed.
A poor second quarter resulted in a 20-13 halftime lead and, no doubt, some serious “coaching” in the halftime locker room.
Massac’s towering center, Cali McCraw, who was just about invisible offensively in the first half, came to play in the second half and it was “Katie bar the door” and sayonara for Benton.
McCraw finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Castleman also had 14 as she dropped 4 triples on Benton. Bailey had 7 points.
Jenna Bunting had two points and 3 rebounds and McKinley Korte didn’t score but played the entire game and was air tight on defense. Waldon, as mentioned before, was a dynamo off the Massac bench.
Coach Abbey Kaylor was able to get all of her girls on the floor “on the big stage.”
The winner of the Centralia-Massac game will square off against the winner of the Herrin-Mt. Carmel game in an 11 a.m. Saturday tilt with the two losers going at it at 9:30 a.m. for third place.