DISTRICT CHAMPS!

By: 
ISRAEL POTOCZNY ◆ ISRAEL@LEBANONDAILYRECORD.COM

WAYNESVILLE — The Lebanon girls’ basketball team captured its first district championship in 13 years on Friday as the Yellowjackets defeated Waynesville in the championship on the Lady Tigers’ home floor, 41-32.

Lebanon trailed Waynesville 19-14 with a little more than five minutes remaining in the second quarter when a wild sequence of plays led to a big swing of momentum. LHS got buckets from Maddie O’Connor and after a Waynesville turnover Kelsey Winfrey scored to cut  the Waynesville lead to 19-18.
In the process Waynesville senior Kiara Shoulders picked up two technical fouls and was ejected from the game.

Lebanon missed all four technical free throws, but after being awarded possession due to the technical, eventually got a pair of free throws from Jaiden Offutt to take a 20-19 lead.

The ‘Jackets led the rest of the way, finishing the half on a 13-0 run to take a 27-19 lead to the half.
“Unfortunately we weren’t able to hit all those free throws … but we did capitalize and seized the momentum from that I think and did a nice job going on that run,” Lebanon head coach Brendan Kelley said.

Emotions throughout the contest were high as Waynesville (19-8) attempted to avenge a 70-36 blowout loss to the Yellowjackets earlier in the season in front of a packed house at Boswell Auditorium. This time, the Lady Tigers were the ones playing in front of a large home crowd.

“This was loud in here all night long,” Kelley said. “Half the time I was trying to change offensive sets  and our kids couldn’t even hear me on the floor and (the crowd) adds a whole different element. We had a bunch of fans here tonight and that added to the energy of our team and the excitement of it all.
“It is fun to play in front of people. I was glad the number of people came out that did.”

Kelley said the team was prepared for the big crowd and the pressure that comes with playing for a district title after putting together a tough regular-season schedule. The ‘Jackets faced a host of state-ranked teams throughout the season leading up to Friday’s contest.
 
For the complete article, see Monday's print edition of The Daily Record, or view the e-Edition online.

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