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By Marlana Smith
The Lady Raiders defeated Schuyler County on Friday, January 20, 2023, 52-35 to earn third place in the 34th Annual North Shelby Tournament.
Natalie Thrasher led NS (14-3) with 16 points. Ceairra Kirby had 12, Ava Williams 11 and Caroline Linberger scored 10 points.
“We obviously come into a tournament with the goal of winning the title, and that’s what it was.
“Opening night, we take care of business, then life happens … that’s exactly what it was. I told the girls that,” said Head Coach Chris Parsons.
Schuyler County took the first lead after a three-pointer was made by Raina Small.
Kirby answered back with a shot from the beyond the arc.
The Lady Rams took back the lead after Jacie Morris scored back-to-back shots. SC led 7-3.
Thrasher hit a three and then a bucket giving NS a 8-7 advantage.
Ashlyn Laws scored giving Schuyler a one-point lead. North Shelby’s Meg Shively went 1-for-2 from the line, tying the game with 34.4 seconds left in the quarter.
Williams was good for two. North Shelby’s freshman Hadlee Parsons got a rebound off her own shot and was good for the put back giving NS a 13-9 lead.
Linberger and Thrasher each scored a bucket within minutes into the second period giving NS an eight-point advantage.
Schuyler went 2-for-2 from the charity line and only scored four more points in the quarter.
Williams was good for a bucket. With 35 seconds on the clock, Thrasher hit a shot from the beyond the arc and was fouled. She was good for the 4-point play. At the half, NS led 23-15.
North Shelby tallied 15 points in the third quarter. Williams went to the line within 25 seconds into the period. She went 2-for-2.
NS took a 30-17 lead after Kirby hit a 3-pointer followed by Linberger with a bucket.
Schuyler County fought back to only trail by seven after Kait Hatfield scored four points, Sidney Aeschliman hit a three and a point was made at the charity line.
The Lady Raiders scored the last six points in the quarter. Linberger, Thrasher and Williams each earned a bucket. NS led 38-27.
North Shelby outscored the Lady Rams 14-8 in the final period.
Williams earned five, Linberger went 4-for-4 from the FT line, Thrasher had three and Kirby scored two.
“To be able to be back here for them tonight and for them to go out and perform and do for 32 minutes what I don’t even think they thought they could do as far as playing full court man-to-man and believing in themselves.
“As I told them, they just took one of the better Class 2 teams in the State and showed them we can handle anything,” Parsons expressed following the game.
“I said third place is just a number, win number 14 is just a number, but what they just did on the floor is a memory and I love them for that.”
Lady Raiders vs. Cairo
North Shelby (13-3) lost to Cairo in the semi-final championship game on Thursday, January 19, with a final score of 69-37.
The Lady Bearcats scored within four seconds into the game. Ceairra Kirby answered back with a three pointer. It was back and forth on which team held the lead until Cairo held a five-point lead with 3:35 on the clock.
Gracie Brumley’s three-pointer gave Cairo a 16-8 lead. Macie Harman and Olivia Cross tallied a bucket and at the end of the quarter the Lady Bearcats held 21-10 advantage.
Cairo outscored NS 18 to 13 in the second period.
The Lady Raiders only scored six points in the third quarter and eight in the fourth.
North Shelby vs. Lady Mustangs
The Lady Raiders dominated the first round of the NS Tournament against Marion County.
NS (13-2) beat MC 73-24.
Natalie Thrasher led NS with 21 points. Thrasher hit five three-pointers in the game.
As a team, NS had 10 three’s. As a team they went 5-for-8 from the charity line.
Ava Williams had 18 points in the game.