Youth hoops notebook: Lady Cats extend county title streak, County Final 4 set

Published 12:59 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2023

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By John Henson 

Contributing Sports Writer

The Rosspoint Lady Cats started over in 2023, but they picked up where they left off on their way to a fourth straight fifth- and sixth-grade county championship.

Rosspoint completed a perfect season against county competition and improved to 17-1 overall with a 40-15 win over Cawood in Thursday’s championship game at Harlan County High School.

“We lost all five starters from last year, so I wasn’t sure what to expect,” said Rosspoint coach Johnny Simpson, who led the Lady Cats to four straight titles in his six seasons. “This shortened season probably hurt all the teams a little as far as execution, but this team came together and jelled. It’s a real unselfish group.”

Taylynn Napier, who played at James A. Cawood last season, took over as the leader of this year’s squad and had a dominant season capped by a 22-point effort on Thursday. Napier was especially strong off the dribble, setting the pace early with four baskets in the opening quarter as Rosspoint took a 14-6 lead.

“We worked a lot with Taylynn on going to the goal. We knew she could shoot, but I told her she had to be able to go the basket in middle school and beyond,” Simpson said. “We worked on that a lot with the HC Elite team in the spring. She did a good job of finishing, and she’s a tough kid. I also liked the passes she made. She probably had five or six assists.”

Addy Cochran, who finished with a team-high seven points for Cawood, helped keep the Lady Comets in the game early.

Napier and Brooklyn Daniels pushed the lead to 13 early in the second quarter before Bella Ford and Campbell Thomas closed the half with three straight points to cut the deficit to 20-10 at halftime.

Rosspoint’s lead grew to 28-14 after three quarters and reached 21 before Simpson went to his reserves to finish the game. Aaliyah Webb and Natalie Creech closed the scoring with baskets in the final minute.

Final 4 set for county tournament

There was one close game and two blowouts on Saturday in the seventh- and eighth-grade county tournament at James A. Cawood.

The host Trojanettes battled to the end before edging Cawood 21-18 before Wallins rolled past Evarts 34-4 and Black Mountain routed Cumberland 32-7.

Carmen Thomas scored nine to lead the Trojanettes, while Riley Clem paced Cawood with six points.

Kylee Runions poured in 14 points as the Lady Devils advanced.

Vanessa Griffith led Black Mountain with 16 points.

Top-seeded Rosspoint play James A. Cawood on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. Black Mountain takes on Wallins at 6:30 p.m. The consolation and championship games are set for Thursday at Harlan County High School.