Fourth-seeded Community Christian came out fighting and jumped out to an early 10-2 lead on top-seeded Paducah Tilghman in their Girls Second District Tournament game Monday night at McCracken County's Strawberry Hills Pharmacy Arena. But in the end, the Lady Blue Tornado's firepower was too much and they cruised to a 72-43 victory.
"I told the girls this was going to be an emotional game, because neither team is ready to clean out their lockers this early," Tilghman coach Roderick Thomas said. "Give credit to CCA, they came out and put up a big fight. We had to withstand their run at the beginning of the game. But our girls finally got settled in and we put our full press later on in the first and the second and they did a good job with it."
With the win, Paducah Tilghman (21-8) earned a spot in the First Region Tournament and on Thursday night at 7 will go for the Second District Championship against the winner of tonight's 6 p.m. first-round game between No. 2 McCracken County and No. 3 St. Mary at Strawberry Hills Pharmacy Arena.
"It's a big win, because it does get is into the Region Tournament," Thomas said. "But our goal is to get the district championship first and we won't be satisfied until we come in Thursday, try to play well and try to compete for the district championship against the winner of the other first-round game. We look forward to it."
In losing, Community Christian's season came to an end with the Lady Warriors going 16-12 overall.
Tilghman's Alex Kohler had the game-high of 22 points and Joya Smith added 14.
CCA was led by Payton Carter's 18 points and the 10 Audrey Peyton put in.
Peyton's layup with 4:19 left in the first put CCA ahead 10-2.
Tilghman answered with a 13-0 run and took a 15-10 advantage on Smith's bucket with 40.2 seconds left in the period.
After PTHS opened a 30-13 margin with 4:14 left in the second, CCA managed to get it down to the 35-24 halftime score on Peyton's free throw with 21.9 seconds to go.
But Tilghman outscored CCA 20-5 in the third quarter and led 55-29 at the end of it and kept control of the game in the fourth.
"We can't match up with them physically," CCA coach Todd Carter said. "We played hard. We planned to shoot a few more threes, and that's all right when you're in an 11-point ballgame against the No. 1 seed. I told the girls we'd have to be ready for their run and they wore us down."
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Paducah Tilghman 72, Community Christian 34
Community Christian 11 24 29 43
Paducah Tilghman 13 35 55 72
COMMUNITY CHRISTIAN - E. Carter 4, P. Carter 18, A. Clinard 2, Hunt 2, Peyton 10, L. Rudy 7, E. Clinard, Dejarnatt, Meadows, Wade, A. Rudy, Arnett..
Field goals 10. 3-pointers 5 (Carter 5, Peyton). Free throws 8/15. Record 16-12.
PADUCAH TILGHMAN -Gardner 2, Donelson 7, Shapiro 5, Horne 2, Shaw 8, Kiohler 22, Humphrey 6, Joya Smith 14, J. Smith 5, Patterson 1, Debrakins, Beasley, Myers.
Field goals 22/58. 3-pointers 6/15 (Donelson 2, Shapiro, Shaw 2, Kohler). Free throws 10/22. Record 21-8.
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Boys: McCracken County 83, Community Christian 45: Community Christian gave top-seeded and host McCracken County a scare in the second quarter of their Second District Tournament first-round game at Strawberry Hills Pharmacy Arena.
The Mustangs came out of the gates in the third quarter and used a 11-0 run to secure their 83-45 victory Monday night.
"You've got to give CCA credit, because they came out and played well," McCracken County coach Burlin Brower said. "We were really sluggish and weren't aggressive offensively. The long break hurt us. We haven't played since last Monday, and it seemed like we took a little time to get back to playing hard."
McCracken County (20-8) advances to the Second District Tournament title game and on Friday at 7 p.m. will host the winner of the No. 2 St. Mary-No. 3 Paducah Tilghman first-round game. That will begin at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Strawberry Hills Pharmacy Arena.
"We'll come out and watch to see who we'll play. It's going to be an awfully good game," Brower said of the St. Mary-Tilghman game. "All I know is we've got to play better for four quarters and better than we played tonight or we won't win our district. But we need to win our district, because it's at home. So we need to play well."
Fourth-seed Community Christian ends the year at 9-18.
Kam Chumbler led all scorers and McCracken County with his 26 points, and Jared Burnett and Sergio Vega each had 10 points.
Cole Smith had CCA's high with 19 points and Tineal Robinson chipped in 12.
After trailing 20-13 at the end of the first, CCA went on an 8-0 run and took its only lead of the game 21-20 on a Hunter Rommelman free throw with 4:54 left in the second.
"We couldn't ask for a better ballgame than how we played in the first half," CCA coach B.B. Kendrick said. "Fatigue has been a huge issue with our kids all year. We only have five guys who can play, and other teams can run people in and out. Once we got fatigued it was hard for us to keep up."
McCracken County managed to get the lead back to 37-28 with 40.9 second left before halftime on Burnett's layup.
The Mustangs then came out in the third, scored the first 11 points of the period and with 6:34 remaining went up 48-28 on Jason Armstrong's basket.
A two-handed dunk by McCracken's Nathan Telfair with 56.2 ticks left in the third made it 68-37.
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Boys: McCracken County 83, Community Christian 45
Community Christian 13 28 38 45
McCracken County 20 37 68 83
COMMUNITY CHRISTIAN - Rommelman 4, Schroeder 6, Robinson 12, B. Smith 2, C. Smith 19, Breedlove 2, Bell, Browning, Miller, Wingfield.
Field goals 9. 3-pointers 6 (C. Smith 4, Schroeder 2). Free throws 9/12. Record 9-18
MCCRACKEN COUNTY - Burnett 10, Collins 3, Chumbler 26, Armstrong 5, Telfair 9, Vega 10, Belt 6, Harris 2, Nall 2, Rodgers 4, Weir 6, Wadley 4.
Field goals 23. 3-pointers 9 (Burnett 2, Collins, Chumbler 3, Vega, Belt 2). Free throws 10/17. Record 20-8.
Call James D. Horne, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8661.