With the 2012 season coming to an end rather abruptly for all other varsity teams in the local area, the Tyler Consolidated Lady Knights are the only team remaining with any hope to extend their season southwards, towards Charleston and the State Championships.
But in reality, can they do it?
"Of course they can," said head coach of the Silver, Matt Kinnard. "Coach Bobby West and I have the utmost faith in the girls on our team. We've played a difficult schedule, lost a few games we should have won, and have had an up and down year, but we have total faith in our girls that they can pull this win out."
The Lady Knights started off Sectional play last week with the first game at home against the Lady Riders of Weir on Feb. 21. Both teams came out hard charging and shooting with purpose. Though they battled hard throughout the first half, the home team found themselves on the short end of the 26-23 at half time.
In the fourth quarter, the Knights turned up the pressure on themselves, turning the game around and taking the win, 54-47 at the buzzer.
Sophomore Sophie Kinnard was on her game in this one, double-doubling in the contest with 32 points and 18 rebounds. Kinnard was also credited with stealing the ball six times, blocking two shots and assisting once. Junior Torrye Cline shined with 12 points, four rebounds, six steals and two assists; Sydney Reed scored five points, had one steal, three assists; Allison Wable, five points, six rebounds, one block, three steals and one assist; Hillary Casteel, four rebounds, one assist; Derstyn Cline, two rebounds, one assist; and Breanna Yeater hauled in three boards.
"This was a good win for us," the coach said. "It gave our girls confidence, and we needed the boost."
Ready to wrap up the second round of Sectionals, the Lady Knights traveled to Oak Glen on Feb. 24 to take on the Lady Golden Bears on their own home court. Though the game did not go as the Silver and Black had hoped with the 69-60 loss, it was an eye opener for the team now in preparation for Regional play.
"We were down 12-2 at one point and came back and took the lead," the coach said. "But they were still up by three at the half. They came out hot in the third quarter and we just couldn't recover. They shot 13 free throws in the fourth quarter and that was basically the story of the entire game."
Cline led all Knight scorers in this game with 20 points. She had four boards, three steals, blocked a shot and was credited with one assist. Kinnard tacked on 13 points, brought down 12 rebounds, blocked a shot, stole the ball three times and assisted twice; Reed scored 11, had eight rebounds, one block, four steals and four assists; Wable added eight points and was credited with five rebounds; Kerstyn Cline had four points, four rebounds, and two assists.
The loss puts the Ladies in Silver at 11-11 on the year with the next game they play to determine if they ready themselves for track and softball seasons, or head to the state tournament in Charleston.
On Thursday, the team will travel to Ravenswood for Regional play to take on the Lady Red Devils, a team the Lady Knights have already defeated twice in the regular season. While some buy into the old adage that is difficult to beat a team three times in one season, the coaches of the Lady Knight basketball program do not dwell on the theory much.
"It's very possible," coach Kinnard said. "It's been done in the past with our team and others. It will be a basketball game, that's all, just with a little more at stake. In fact, with any luck we'll be more prepared since we've already seen them twice. We're looking forward to a good game."
The Lady Knights will play at Ravenswood on March 1 with game time scheduled for 7 p.m.