Harlan’s run as All ‘A’ champs ends

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, January 16, 2018

ONEIDA — The old saying ‘defense wins championships’ rung true during Monday’s 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic championship game as Williamsburg defeated Harlan 57-42.

A loss to Corbin almost two weeks ago forced Williamsburg coach Randy Crider to stress just how important his team’s defensive play is to their success. His players listened and put on a defensive clinic during their run to the program’s first-ever 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic championship.

The Lady Jackets (12-6) limited both Pineville and Lynn Camp to their lowest offensive outputs of the season during the first two rounds of the tournament and almost did the same during Monday’s title game against four-time defending region champion Harlan (8-8).

Email newsletter signup

The Lady Dragons’ 42-point total was its second worst offensive performance this season, as Williamsburg managed to put an end to Harlan’s 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic reign.

“I’m confident in what the girls can do,” Crider said. “I know what they can do. You saw it this week. They just have to do it. After the Corbin game we had a heart to heart, and said, listen you’ve got to want to do it. I know what they can do, and they know what they can do, but they’ve got to want to do it.

“Defense stinks — it’s not fun, and it’s hard to do,” he added. “It doesn’t get any of the accolades or any of the glory, but it will get us the win. Going through the first two rounds, we had held the teams to their lowest points of the season. I was pretty confident in our defense, as long as we came out and done the same thing. I was really confident in ourselves to be able;e to compete and have a good chance. To be honest, I didn’t believe we would have this good of a chance. We really wanted it tonight.”

Williamsburg senior Lillie Hall captured tournament MVP honors by scoring 14 points in the win while teammates Kayla Gibson, Tori Lester, Kelsey Tye, and Lillie Abbott each were named to the all-tournament team.

“I think we just came together as a team,” Hall said. “Our defense really played a big part (in our success) during the tournament, and it allowed us to come together as a team. Our defense was great. It was the difference between winning and losing. We really came out and showed that we wanted this.”

“I’m really excited,” she added. “I’m excited I get to represent my school. We are the first team in school history to ever win this, so I’m really proud of our team.”

Williamsburg took control of the game during the first quarter. The Lady Yellow Jackets held a slim 8-6 lead with 3:37 remaining in the quarter before finishing it out with an 11-0 run that allowed them a 19-6 edge they would never relinquish.

Harlan managed to cut its deficit to 25-17 at halftime behind the play of Mackenzie King, who led all scorers with 23 points, but a 20-10 run to begin the third quarter allowed Crider’s squad to put the game away.

“In the first quarter and right there at the very beginning of the second, I really felt like we played some stellar basketball,” Crider said. “Everything was clicking. In the second quarter, we had a letdown. We kind of slowed up on defense, and that’s not us. We go for 32 minutes, and if we do that, we give ourselves a shot. We were able to give ourselves enough off a gap there in the first quarter to help ourselves from that dropoff.

“We emphasized that (need to continue to play good defense) in the locker room,” he added. “Hey, we still have 16 more minutes and we had to keep fighting, and we were able to do that. I’m so proud of our girls.”

The Lady Jackets’ lead grew to as many as 16 points in the fourth quarter as they managed to seal the win and snap Harlan’s four-year reign as the 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic champions.

Lady Green Dragon players King, Noah Canady and Peyton Charles were each named to the all-tournament team.

Williamsburg is scheduled to play the 2nd Region champion on Jan. 24 at 1 p.m. during first round action of the Kentucky All ‘A’ Classic State Tournament. The tournament will be played at Eastern Kentucky University’s McBrayer Arena.

“This is huge — the first time ever,” Crider said. “I think in 2010 we were runner-up, so we really emphasized that. The seniors I think really hung on to that. It was something they wanted to do. Being the first ever to do something, the girls get to enjoy this the rest of their lives. I don’t care if we win it the next year and the next year. This group of girls gets to say, the rest of their lives, we were the first.”


Williamsburg 57, Harlan 42


Lillie Hall 4 5-13 14, Lillie Abbott 5 4-4 14, Kayla Gibson 3 3-4 12, Tori Lester 0 2-2 2, Kelsey Tye 4 4-4 12, Madison Chapman 1 0-1 3. Totals: 18 18-28 57.

HARLAN (8-8)

Payeton Charles 3 0-0 6, Noah Canady 4 0-0 9, Taylor Simpson 1 0-0 2, Mackenzie King 8 7-10 23, Brandi Haywood 0 0-0 0, Natalee King 0 2-2 2, Whitney Wilson 0 0-0 0, Katelyn Burkhart 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 9-12 42.

Williamsburg 19 6 20 12 — 57

Harlan 6 14 11 11 — 42

3-point goals: Williamsburg 3 (Hall 1, Gibson 1, Chapman 1), Harlan 1 (Canady 1).