(Photos by David Jenkins, Staff)
PARK HILLS -- All season long the Dexter Lady Bearcats were known as a high-scoring basketball team, averaging 65 points per game. Wednesday night, the offense disappeared.
Facing a Farmington team that finished second in state a year ago, the Lady Bearcats were unable to find the basket in the second half, losing 48-35 to the Knightettes in a Class 4 Sectional game played at Mineral Area College.
"It's definitely a tough one," said Dexter coach Chad Allen, visibly disappointed. "The girls battled all year long and did a good job and didn't quit tonight. They gave it all they had and left everything on the court."
Dexter led at the half 18-16 and took their biggest lead of the game at 26-
"In the first half we thought we played real well defensively, we held them to 18 points, but we didn't put the ball in the basket," said Farmington coach Steve McFarland. "We had some chip shots that we just flipped up there, I think we maybe thought we were going to draw a foul and didn't. We talked about we had to be a little bit more focused, jump a little higher and stick the ball in the hole with a little bit more aggression. I thought we did that in the second half."
Dexter quickly tied the game up to start the fourth quarter when junior Katelyn Heil knocked down a 3-pointer, but the Lady Bearcat momentum didn't last long as Farmington rattled off five quick points and took control of the game.
One reason for Farmington taking control was rebounding. In the first half Dexter outrebounded the Knightettes 14-10 but the tables turned in the second half, with Farmington finishing with a 36-31 rebounding edge.
"I can't brag enough on Kelsey Detring," McFarland said of his 5-9 senior. "I don't know if in the first half she was much of a factor, but in the second half she just came out and said she was going to own the inside and she did."
"It definitely seemed like everything was going (Farmington's) way in the second half," Allen said. "Loose balls were going their way, even boards were coming right straight to them. You have to give them credit, they played hard, too. They have a good team."
As Farmington began stretching their lead in the fourth quarter, Dexter was forced to foul, and the Knightettes took advantage, finishing with a 13-point win, their biggest lead of the day.
"We played a really tough schedule this year," McFarland said. "I know everybody here in the state tournament has, but those things are supposed to pay dividends now. They're supposed to make you confident, poised and learn to handle adversity and I thought we did a real good job of it."
Farmington (21-6) was led in scoring by Taylor Jensen's 12 points. Freshman Erin Littrell also added 10 for the Knightettes who will take on Notre Dame-
St. Louis (20-7) Saturday in the Class 4 quarterfinals.
Dexter was led in scoring by Heil's 11 points. The junior also pulled down 12 rebounds and had four steals. Senior Sammy Waldner added eight points and pulled down five rebounds.
Dexter finished the season 22-5, ended with the second-most wins in school history and won the school's second district title. They will graduate three seniors: Waldner, Brooke Thrower and Abby Reiker.
"The ladies played well all year and did a great job," Allen said. "We're going to miss our three seniors in Sammy, Brooke and Abby. Even though we didn't get this one, the girls did a great job this year and won districts."
The Lady Bearcats will return the nucleus of this year's team, including four starters and others that played significant minutes.
"We've got a good corps of girls coming back," Allen said. "In the off season we're going to have to work hard and keep getting better and remember how much this hurts."