On Thursday, March 8th the Lady Crimsons and the Scott County Cardinals faced off at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) in Highland Heights, Kentucky. The tip-off was at 2 p.m., with Scott County grabbing the ball and quickly losing it, and the first points of the game went to Manual’s Tyonne Howard (12, #12) for a 2-pointer.
Almost immediately after, Lady Crimson Aniah Griffin (12, #21) scored another two-pointer. Scott County scrambled to catch up, and Peyton Riddle (12, #22) shot a two-pointer of her own before being outdone by Griffin’s three-pointer. Cardinal Juliette Smith (11, #14) managed to get another two-pointer, bringing the score to 7-4 with Manual in the lead. Adding in the points from the free throws shot by Cardinal Malea Williams (10, #4) and Crimson Dejah Chatman (10, #24) the score was 9-5 until Crimson Jaela Johnson (12, #3) scored a three-pointer.
The first period ended with the Lady Crimsons leading 12-9.
The second period began a lot like the first; with Scott County in possession of the ball until a Crimson (this time Johnson) grabbed the ball and scored. However, a full two minutes passed between the beginning of the period and Johnson managing to make the three-pointer. Then the game starts to heat up, with Riddle shooting two two-pointers as well as Scott County scoring two free throws in quick succession.
Johnson scored another two-pointer, bringing the score to 19-15 with Manual in the lead, after the Crimsons’ free throw. Howard and Nila Blackford (11, #41) score a two-pointer each, and Johnson shoots a buzzer-beating three-pointer to end the half at 26-19.
Period 3 began with the Crimsons in possession and Jeanay Riley (10, #15) shot a two-pointer before Griffin shot two free throws. Blackford scored a two-pointer of her own, and did a repeat after Williams made a free throw. After Blackford and Johnson’s free throws, Scott County’s Kenady Tompkins (9, #34) shot a two-pointer and Blackford scored two more free throws.
Tompkins and Riddle shoot a two-pointer each, and with 30 seconds left in the period, the Lady Crimsons led 43-29. Johnson and Howard get a free throw each, but Scott County scored a two-pointer and the third period ended at 46-31.
Period four saw both teams going at full tilt, trying to one up the other. Griffin shot a three-pointer, and so did the Cardinals. Johnson scores a two-pointer, and Smith manages to get another three-pointer. Johnson shot another two-pointer followed by a free throw, and the score is 56-41 with 3:19 left on the clock.
The Crimsons and the Cardinals matched blow for blow for the rest of the game. Blackford shot two more free throws, but Riddle scored a two-pointer. Howard got two more free throws, and Smith gets another two-pointer. The clock slowly ran down, and the period- and the game- ended with a final score of 60-45.
“I’m happy that we won but the tournament isn’t over yet,” Tyonne Howard said, “We have 3 more games to win to get a championship!”
It seems the Lady Crimsons have evolved over the course of the season, and today’s game was a far cry from the game the Lady Crimsons had lost to in the beginning of this season.
“We were a totally different team early in the season than what we are now, so a lot has changed,” Howard said.
Included in the list of things that have changed are the clothes.
“I don’t know if anyone noticed,” mentions Howard, “but we got new warmup shirts that say, ‘I don’t care who gets it done as long as Manual gets it done’ and that’s like our motto throughout the tournament.”
The Crimsons are elated to be moving onto the Elite 8.
“My teammates and I have been preparing for this all year!” Johnson says, “We are not done yet. Our goal is the state title!”
Manual will play Boyd County at 8 p.m. at Northern Kentucky University on Friday, March 9.