LEESBURG – The #9 seed New Lex Lady Panthers came back from a 13-point deficit in the third quarter to capture the sectional title against #8 seed Leesburg Fairfield on Feb 17.
In an incredibly physical matchup, the Lady Panthers struck first, scoring on the infamous alley-oop to Aubri Spicer. The Lady Lions would then go on a 9-0 run before the visitors got another point on the board. New Lex got back in rhythm behind Kim Kellogg, but the hosts led after the first, 13-10.
The second quarter saw the Lady Panthers getting open shots but not hitting. The Lady Lions were able to take advantage of the Panther trap, with Ella Newkirk hitting two straight threes after being left open twice. New Lex wasn’t going anywhere though, as Spicer hit a three before the buzzer to put the Fairfield lead at seven going into the half, 27-20.
The third quarter started off with more of the same, the Lady Panthers not making opportunities. The Lady Lions’ lead grew to 13 as New Lex couldn’t find a groove until late in the third, when Spicer scored three straight buckets to end the frame and bring the deficit to 8.
Possible momentum swing?
The Lady Panthers, in thrilling fashion, took over from there. Their trap defense started creating turnovers, Spicer had a couple of steals, and the shots started falling. Then Kim Kellogg, who had been a force on the boards and assisting all game long, hit a three-pointer with 5:53 left in the fourth to bring the visitors within one. And the crowd was absolutely LOVING it. Then Emma Abrams hit the dagger three-pointer with three minutes left to put the Lady Panthers up by four. The defense would take it from there, and New Lexington are Sectional Champions.
Spicer led all scorers with 23 points. Kim Kellogg had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. For the Lady Lions, Emma Fouch led the scoring with 12 points.
The Lady Panthers will now travel down to Wheelersburg to take on the top-seeded Lady Pirates in the district tournament. That game is slated to take place on Feb 24 at 7 pm.