LEXINGTON -- Despite a 68-53 loss to Sacred Heart on Saturday night in the Girls' State Championship game, the McCracken County Lady Mustangs still have much to be proud of. After a first round loss in the tournament last season, going the distance this time around is a historic feat for McCracken County High School.
"We won our first game, that was history made. We won day number two, that was history made. We won earlier today, history made," head coach Scott Sivills said. "So we've had some history making moments this year, 35 wins is the most in school history and I don't know if that will ever be topped for a while."
The 35-3 record beats the Lady Mustangs previous record set last year when they went 31-2.
Getting to the championship game contest consisted of 71-41 win over Bethlehem, 51-47 win over Ashland Blazer, and a 50-47 win over Henderson County, all in a 3-day span in the Girls' Sweet 16. The Championship game capped off the historic weekend by earning the 2023 Mingua Beef Jerky Girls' Sweet 16 Tournament Runner-up title.
McCracken County started out Saturday nights contest on a 5-0 run courtesy of junior Mikee Buchanan, but the Valkyries took over from there. They would go on a 15-0 run before senior Caroline Sivills laid one up and in with 1:41 remaining in the first quarter.
Sacred Heart led 17-7 after the first eight minutes and a 31-19 lead going into halftime.
It wouldn't be until the fourth quarter where the Lady Mustangs found their scoring legs, but the 25-point deficit the Valkyries had built would be too much to bounce back from.
McCracken would go on an 11-0 run midway through the fourth quarter. Sivills, Buchanan and Briley Benton all nailed 3-pointers, with Buchanan adding a layup to cut the deficit to 61-47.
"Even though we are hurt right now we're still so proud of ourselves," an emotional senior Destiny Thomas said. "I think the tears are more because we won't be able to play to with each other ever again. Yeah we lost, but we did give it all that we got to get to this point."
Caroline Sivills and Claire Johnson agree.
"I'm really proud of my team," Johnson said. "This year was the best in school history and I'm really glad to be apart of it and be with these girls. I'm going to miss them a whole lot, but these tears are because I'm going to miss them."
"Most of these tears are because we have such a good team chemistry," Sivills said. "I think we are all going to remember this season for the rest of our lives because we made history at our school."
J.B. MANSFIELD AWARD:
Sacred Heart 17 14 20 17 - 68
McCracken County 7 12 12 22 - 53
SH: Z. Johnson 30, R. Bender 19, A. Pelayo 17, T. Ralston 2. 2-pt FG: 71.1%. 3-pt FG: 50%. FT: 69.2%.
MC: M. Buchanan 13, C. Sivills 11, C. Johnson 9, D. Thomas 9, B. Benton 9, R. Hill 2. 2-pt FG: 50%. 3-pt FG: 38.9%. FT: 80%.
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