Trigg County needed to really keep the game in the half-court if it wanted to walk out of Christian County High School on Friday night with an upset win over Henderson County girls’ Second Region Championship game. The Lady Colonels had other plans.
Henderson County’s full-court pressure took control of the pace and the game, pushing the Lady Colonels on to the Second Region Championship game with a 69-28 win over the Lady Wildcats.
HC head coach Jeff Haile said they wanted to speed up the game and make things uncomfortable for Trigg County all night.
“We wanted to make sure that we got into our press and made it a little more sped up game,” Haile said. “We know they like to be a little bit more deliberate from what I’ve seen in the past. We sped them up some, turned them over, (and) converted.
Trigg County head coach Cory Coble said Henderson executed their gameplan very well and it really made things difficult on his team.
“They do such a good job of speeding you up,” Coble said. “They give you hope — you get down the floor and you get a 2-on-1 and you think that it’s open but they got kids coming from behind. Once they speed you up, it’s on … We knew we had to limit possessions. Even when we could get in the half-court — everybody talks about how good of a shooting team they are and how great of an offensive team they are, but their defense is so underrated. They just get on you.”
The Lady Colonels got out early and set up the press, making the Lady Wildcats head out of their gameplan early and move quicker than they wanted to, which led to some turnovers, and Henderson took advantage, getting up by as much as 25 in the first half.
Trigg didn’t back down though. It took advantage of some Lady Colonel foul trouble and sparked a 7-0 run to end the first half to cut the deficit to 18.
Once Henderson got all of their players back on the floor to start the second half, it spelled trouble for Coble and his bunch. The Lady Colonels opened the second half on a 25-2 to start the running clock and cruised to a date with Madisonville-North Hopkins tonight in the Second Region title game.
Coble said with as many weapons the Lady Colonels have, they are extremely hard to scout.
“(They’re the) hardest team to scout ever,” Coble said. “You can’t simulate their defense, you can’t simulate their offense. Basically, if you want to simulate their offense, you just run people off of 1,000 screens, and if they get the shot off, you count it for three points. For your girls, you want to be aggressive, you want to get out on them, but as soon as you do, they backdoor or slip screens. They’re just amazing.”
With the loss, it puts an end to the historic year for the Lady Wildcats.
It also means goodbye to three seniors, two of which were big pieces in the turnaround at Trigg County.
Coble said he will miss seniors Rylee Bush and Emily Noffsinger as they went through the downs of the program and brought it to new heights in just four years.
“You take it for granted when it’s happening,” Coble said. “You win six games and you win nine games and you’re like, ‘Man, we’re really struggling.’ But you just really wish you could go back and spend that time with them and really recognize how far they’d come. They’ve given this program everything. I think it’s the situation where if you give everything for so long, you can end up being a little greater than anybody thought you could and I truly think that is what happened.”
But even with the loss of those seniors, Trigg returns a bulk of their weapons for next season, including leading scorer Olivia Noffsinger. Coble said he hopes his returning players will continue to build upon what Bush and Noffinsger did, and make this year the standard for Lady Wildcats basketball.
“You don’t ever replace players,” Coble said. “There will never be another Emily, there will never be another Rylee, you just have to find somebody that does their own thing. I think we have the pieces in place … They have to continue to put in that work and continue to work hard. We’ve had two senior leaders — they’ve really been our leaders forever. Really just to find the people to lead this team forward. I don’t think that’ll be hard with Olivia Noffsinger and Adri Phillips coming back but we’ve got to have someone to hold that standard.”