It was finally time for playoff basketball. The first round was the district matchup against the Watonga Eagles last Saturday night.
The Lady Eagles come into this game following a very tough 2nd half-schedule. Watonga has a star point guard, Aubrey Bridges, who scored over 30 in their two 2nd half comeback vs the ladies earlier in the year. She started off super-hot tonight, scoring 7 of Watonga’s 11 points with 3:30 to go in the first. But the Eagles responded right back, with Katie Kennedy and Kadee Meeker hitting a shot apiece.
Kenna Pendergraft hit her two free throws to put it within two scores. And Katie Kennedy hit a tough and 1 layup and followed it up by making the free throw with 1:50 left in the first. In the last 40 seconds, Natalie Walker hit 2 deep threes, including a buzzer-beater at the end of the first to give Watonga an 11 point lead.
The first 4 minutes of the second were uneventful for the ladies, only managing a layup. After that, Katie Kennedy hit another And 1 layup and tacked on the free throw once again. She led the team with 8 points to that point. Bridges finally got back on the board after her hot start, as a majority of Watonga’s scoring had come from Natalie Walker’s 5 first-half threes.
The first half concluded with another Watonga scoring run and a last-second shot, and they went into the half with a 23-point lead 40-17. Watonga in their first two matchups against the Lady Eagles had a tough time getting going, trailing in both first halves, but tonight was no issue. They got on the board first in the 2nd half but Katie Kennedy responded with a bucket of her own; at the time Katie had over half of the ladies’ points. The ladies were also without Yuridia Rios once again, still dealing with an injury. Katie would then go 1-2 from the free throw line later, and tacked on a layup; those 5 points were the only points the ladies had in the 3rd quarter.
Noelle Pollard started off the 4th quarter right for the eagles with a corner three and followed it right back up with a layup. Watonga though, wouldn’t be denied scoring tonight. And following an Amiliey Tuell corner 3, Watonga still led by 22 points and followed up with a layup and a 3 to give them 70 on the night. This loss doesn’t put the Lady Eagles out of the playoffs though, it does mean that they are one loss away from being out. With losing, they should have an easier matchup. Aubrey Bridges and Natalie Walker for Watonga combined for 40 points and Watonga had 4 players with over double-digit points. On the Lady Eagles side, Katie Kennedy led with 15 points. The final score was Hennessey Lady Eagles 33 – Watonga Lady Eagles 70. Story by Taylor Ladwig, Photos by Jack Quirk