MARION – Lauren Coakley scored a game-high 25 points to lead Massac County to a 46-41 victory over Herrin Wednesday at the Lady Cat Tip-Off Classic.
Coakley started a 14-point run for the Patriots in the first quarter, and Massac County built a 12-point advantage in the opening half.
“Lauren is capable of that, and she did a nice job for us,” said Massac County coach Jim Prevallet. “We’re asking her to play out on the floor and also inside on the post. She’s a senior this year, and she’s got to step up and lead us. We’ve got to have somebody we can go to late when we need a bucket. Hopefully, she’ll be one of the kids that will do that.”
In the third quarter, Coakley made a pair of three-point plays, and Paige Box scored a basket to give the Patriots a commanding 16-point lead.
But Herrin continued to chip away at the lead. Marissa Russell made a basket in the paint to cap off a 10-0 run for the Tigers. That sliced the Massac County advantage to 35-28.
Coakley picked up her fourth foul with 4:40 left in the game. Moments later, Ashton Hawk sank two foul shots, and suddenly, Herrin trailed by just one point, 37-36.
The Patriots finished strong. Coakley finished off a 7-0 run with a basket at the 2:05 mark of the fourth quarter.
“I told the kids at halftime that they will make a run on us,” Prevallet said. “We missed some easy baskets that could have extended our lead and made it easier on us. But you’ve got to give Herrin credit. They kept coming after us. We had three seniors step up for us late in the ball game. Down the stretch, we did just enough to keep them at bay.”
Massac County won this contest in the first half. Herrin got off to a good start and led 7-5, but it was all Patriots for the rest of the opening quarter.
Coakley scored three baskets during Massac County’s 14-0 run. Tayvia Bailey ended the quarter with a basket, and Massac County held a 19-7 lead.
Massac County held the Tigers without a point for nearly eight minutes of game time in the opening half.
“I thought they were tired, and we took advantage of that,” Prevallet said. “I don’t think they expected a full-court man-to-man press, and I thought we took their legs away from them. We were able to pick off some passes, and I thought we recovered well from our press, too.”
Box added seven points for Massac County. Hawk paced Herrin with 11 points, and Madison Russell contributed nine.
Marion defeated Gallatin County, 62-52, in the opening game, which went to overtime.