Burgin girls upset Garrard

March 03, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

LANCASTER - There was no reason to believe, but the Burgin girls believed anyway.

They had faith that they could reach the regional tournament by beating Garrard County, even if virtually no one else did.

The Bulldogs followed up on their faith with a stunning upset, beating Garrard 53-49 to earn their first trip to the 12th Region Tournament in 12 years.

"I think in our hearts we knew we could win," forward Stephanie Stewart said. "And we proved everybody wrong. Everybody thought we were going to lose."


Stewart and her teammates were a bit stunned after Burgin's first win in a 46th District Tournament semifinal since 1992.

"I don't know what to say," Stewart said.

The Bulldogs will play Mercer County for the district championship on Friday night, and win or lose, they'll return to Garrard next week for the regional.

"It was the best all-out effort from start to finish I've ever been associated with," Burgin coach Keith Monson said. "I knew we were a better team than what we showed the first two times against them."

Garrard pummeled Burgin twice during the regular season. The Lions won 68-26 on Dec. 15 and 70-40 on Jan. 26. But Burgin (17-12) got the jump on them this time, scoring the game's first 10 points and rolling up a 17-4 lead after one quarter.

Host Garrard (10-17) took the lead for the first time late in the third quarter. Burgin nosed in front for the final time with 2:59 to play, then held on despite struggling to make free throws.

"It's disappointing," Garrard coach Jenny Teater said. "They played hard and they were knocking down shots, and we were giving way too much defensively.

"They got confidence at the beginning of the game, and you can do a lot with confidence."

"I was prepared to call every timeout I had in the first quarter if I had to to keep us settled," Monson said.

Three straight baskets by Bev Harris got things rolling for Burgin, and Garrard didn't get its first basket until the 2:55 mark of the first quarter.

Harris, an eighth-grader, was left to do most of the ball-handling when guard Clara Sanders hurt her knee in the first quarter.

"To have an eighth-grader running your team, she did a tremendous job," Monson said.

Lions got back into the game by hitting the boards

The Lions got back in the game by getting on the boards. They outrebounded Burgin 23-13 in the second and third quarters, and center Kia Howard had 15 of her 18 rebounds during those periods.

Garrard led 31-30 after three quarters. Sydney Napier's three-point play gave the Lions a 42-41 lead, but Taylor Bottoms answered with a three-point play for Burgin.

"I think our defense really helped us," guard Andrea Warner said.

Harris, Stewart and Amanda Carey combined to go 5-for-13 at the free-throw line in the final 1:10.

Burgin had led 49-42 with 46 seconds left, but Garrard trimmed the margin to two points before Bottoms, Burgin's best shooter, sank two free throws with 3.8 seconds left.

"Theyknocked them down when it counted," Teater said.

Burgin was 11-for-21 at the line, and the Bulldogs shot 50 percent (20-for-40) from the field. Garrard shot 36.3 percent (20-for-55).

Warner had 13 points and Bottoms had 11 for Burgin. Stewart, who had seven points and six rebounds in the fourth quarter, had a team-high 11 rebounds.

Garrard got 13 points each from Howard and Andrea Adams, its only seniors.

"These girls have worked hard all year, and it's not easy adjusting to a new coach," said Teater, a first-year coach.

Burgin's players said nothing Garrard did surprised them. "That's all we've been thinking about the past three weeks," Harris said.

While this was already Burgin's winningest season in recent memory, beating Garrard takes this young team to another level.

"Every year we say, 'We're going to be awesome next year,' and we decided this was going to be the year," Harris said.

BURGIN (17-12) - Stephanie Stewart 8, Bev Harris 9, Amanda Carey 3, Andrea Warner 13, Taylor Bottoms 11, Clara Sanders 3, Tiffany Shewmaker 6.

GARRARD (10-17) - Andrea Adams 13, Kia Howard 13, Chelsea Denny 6, Abby Parsons 2, Ashley Meadows 4, Sydney Napier 4, Wendi Logan 7.

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