The ride is over for the Rockcastle County after the Lady Rockets dropped a 52-49 decision to Scott County in a Girls Sweet Sixteen quarterfinal this afternoon.
Rockcastle (29-5) came close to getting a shot at the state championship in a tight game that neither team led by more than six points, but Scott held on in the final minute to earn a spot in tonight’s title game against Mercy. (Click these links for the box score and play-by-play.)
The Lady Rockets trailed 57-51 with 1:11 to play, then quickly cut the margin to one on a 3-point goal by Jackie Alexander at 1:00 and two free throws by Angie Lawrence at :46 after two missed free throws on the other end. Four free throws put Scott back up by five with 14 seconds left, but a Lawrence 3-pointer at :09 made it 61-59, and after the Lady Cardinals got one of two free throws, the Lady Rockets got the ball back with seven seconds left down by three points, but they were unable to get off a shot.
The last of several controversial calls and non-calls, most of which seemed to go against Rockcastle, was the apparent ruling that a Rockcastle player had saved the ball from going out of bounds, causing time to expire. The Lady Rockets believed that the ball had gone out of bounds off a Scott player, which would have left them about a second to get off a potential game-tying 3-point shot. Irate Rockcastle fans booed as the team protested to no one in particular — the officials had already left the floor — and were still booing during the postgame ceremony in which their team received its semifinalist’s trophy.
Rockcastle led by five points with 6:00 remaining, but Scott went in front with a 7-1 run over the next 1:52 that included four points by Kristen Stainback, who scored 26 in all, and the Lady Cardinals never relinquished the lead.
Lawrence had 19 points, Sara Hammond had 17 and Kristen Abney had 10 for Rockcastle. Hammond also blocked six shots. Alexander had nine rebounds and Hammond had eight, but the Lady Rockets were outrebounded 39-30. They gave up 15 offensive rebounds, and they also had 16 turnovers.
Rockcastle proved to be another tremendous representative of the 12th Region and the 47th District, just as Casey County was last year, when it reached the state tournament semis, and the Lady Rockets helped to bolster the 12th’s reputation as one of the strongest girls basketball regions in the state.
Rockcastle was one of two teams in the region ranked in the top 10 in the state in various polls and power ratings this season, and Chrysti Noble’s team figures to be assured of a high preseason ranking for 2010-11 after losing only one senior, Alexander, from its playing rotation.