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Lady Tigers fall in sectional title game

Feb. 3—CLAYTON — The Lebanon girls basketball team entered Saturday night's sectional title game against Danville looking to win their first sectional title since 2017.

But from the opening tip on, nothing seemed to go right for the Lady Tigers and Danville claimed the sectional title with a 53-14 win.

"We knew we were going to have to play our absolute best to win," Lebanon head coach Candice Huckstep said. "It was just a rough start — we couldn't hit any shots and turned it over. You could tell the difference in the physical strength of Danville and they are a fundamentally good team. After the game, we didn't dwell on the negatives, but talked about the future — we have to get in the weight room, we have to develop our skills and our shooting. Things aren't going to get any easier moving forward for us."

Things started out poorly on the opening possession, as Danville scored and Tiger starter Marina Barr got a bloody nose forcing her to the bench.

The struggles continued throughout the first half, as Lebanon fell behind 32-5. The Tigers were 1-of-15 from the field with 15 turnovers in the first half.

The lone shot make was a 3-pointer from Sophie Kyker at the half-time buzzer.

"We didn't get great looks throughout the half," Huckstep said. "They were really aggressive with their man-to-man and we didn't handle their pressure very well. It takes us a little longer to run our sets and that's where we really struggled with their pressure. We had some early looks we just didn't make and that got us in a hole."

Lebanon started off the second half better, hitting two of their first three shots, but then saw Danville score the next 12 points to get a running clock to close the game out.

The Tigers went to their bench for a lot of the second half, and the team continued to battle, but it was too little too late.

"We wanted to get some experience for some of the younger girls in this environment and hopefully that helps us in the future," Huckstep said. "They did a good job."

Kyker finished with five points for the Tigers, the only player with more than two.

The Tigers finish the season 11-15. Huckstep said she is thankful for the leadership of their senior group.

"Our seniors had such kind leadership and were very welcoming to the freshmen coming in," Huckstep said. "We couldn't ask for better seniors — who are going to be so successful without basketball, just in life in general. They are going to be awesome, awesome people."

Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.