by Gary Andrews
The Wabash Lady Apaches were in pursuit of their first regional title at Lapel Saturday, winning the first game 55-48 over Southmont before falling short against Tipton in the championship game 48-37.
The Lady Apaches got off to a slow start in their game against Southmont. After leading 6-2 Southmont would out score Wabash 11-2 the remainder of the quarter to lead Wabash 13-8 after one.
Wabash, showing no panic came storming back in the second. Sarah Puckett would hit a free throw that ignited a 6-1 run as the Lady Apaches tied the score at 14 just two minutes into the second. After a Southmont three and trailing 17-14 Kyleigh Hampton would connect twice, one a three to give Wabash a 19-17 lead. Puckett would then hit two free throws, followed by buckets from Claire Cromer and Lyndsie Thomas to lead 25-17. Thomas and Cromer would each hit one more time in the quarter and Wabash led 30-18 at the half.
Southmont, behind their three six footers would start to pound the ball down low in the third against the smaller Apaches and out scored Wabash 15-7 in the third. Wabash got a three from Hampton and buckets from Thomas and Puckett to lead 37-33 after three.
Point guard Claire Cromer would start to penetrate the Southmont defense in the fourth, either being fouled or kicking it out for a bucket. Cromer hit 10 free throws in the quarter with Hampton and Puckett getting buckets to win game one 55-48, getting a shot a the regional title against Tipton.
Lyndsie Thomas and Claire Cromer led Wabash with 14 points each. Sarah Puckett added 13, Kyleigh Hampton 12, Jaclyn Lewis 2.
In the championship, Tipton got the first bucket of the game before Wabash scored 6 in a row. Sarah Puckett and Claire Cromer hit, followed by two Puckett free throws to lead 6-2. Tipton would then go on a 9-2 run to grab an 11-8 lead when Puckett hit two more free throws followed by a Cromer bucket and Wabash led 12-11 after one.
Tipton would get the first two buckets of the second quarter to go ahead 15-12 when a Lyndsie Thomas bucket made it 15-14. Jaclyn Lewis would hit and after a Kyleigh Hampton three the game was tied at 19. As fast as Wabash gained the momentum, Tipton took it away scoring 6 straight to end the quarter and led 25-19 at the half.
Tipton stretched the lead to 28-19 to start the third before a Lewis bucket made it 28-21. Lyndsie Thomas hit two free throws after a Tipton bucket to make it 30-23 when the Blue Devils started to play ball control. Over the next three and a half minutes Tipton scored three times on drives and back doors, holding Wabash to a Sarah Puckett free throw and led the Lady Apaches 37-24 with a quarter to go.
Wabash trailed 41-30 in the fourth with 3:16 left when they started to foul, chipping away at the Blue Devil lead by forcing free throws and had the Tipton lead down to 8 at 45-37 with 1:19 to go. Wabash couldn't find the bucket the last minute as Tipton hit free throws in the 48-37 final.
Leading the Lady Apaches was Sarah Puckett with 16 points. Lyndsie Thomas added 8, Kyleigh Hampton 5, Claire Cromer 4, Jaclyn Lewis 4.