The Pineville Lady Lions saw their season come to an end last Wednesday with a loss to Lynn Camp in the first round of the 51st District Tournament.
Pineville coach Jamie Mills was worried heading into the game beacuse his Lady Cats had beaten Lynn Camp twice already this season and the Lady Wildcats had four seniors who would be playing to keep their high school careers going.
Those fears proved to be well-founded as the Lady Wilcats opened the game with full-court pressure and and the Lady Lions struggled to match their intensity.
Lynn Camp took advantage of several Pineville turnovers and built a commanding 20-4 lead after one quarter.
“You’ve got to give Lynn Camp credit, they came to play tonight,” Mills said. “I was a little worried after the last practice. I thought we were lackadaisical and lacked intensity. I was extremely worried about the press. We worked on it adamantly at practice but when they got in it, we got rattled.”
After the early onslaught, the Lady Lions settled in and trailed just 30-13 at halftime.
They used their own press in the third quarter and while they forced Lynn Camp into turnovers, they struggled to convert those opportunities into points.
Pineville got as close as 13 points, but were never able to put a serious scare into the Lady Wildcats during the second half and Lynn Camp went on to a 61-35 win.
Jasmine Rogers led four Lynn Camp players in double figures with 16 points. Senior Bradi Coe and Mackenzie Grant added 14 each and Natalie Fanella scored 12 off the bench.
Pineville was led by sophomore guard Whitney Caldwell’s 20 points. Raigan King added seven.
“We’ve relied on two players too much all season,” said Mills. “The question going in was ‘if Whitney (Caldwell) and Raigan (King) weren’t playing a good game, who was going to step up?’ Hopefully this offseason we can get better individually. I don’t like to use our youth as a crutch, and I won’t, but we are lucky to have everyone coming back next year.
“We just have to get better individually over the offseason and improve. We are excited to get to work and get better, and we are excited to see what next year holds in store for us.”
Pineville ends the season with a record of 16-14. Lynn Camp (17-11) went on to defeat Knox Central 59-48 to win the district championship. The Lady Wildcats were set to play Red Bird in the first round of the 13th Region Tournament on Wendesday at 7:30 p.m.