The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Mike Motz
Sports Editor 

Lady Warriors Settle For Runner-Up Honors At MAC Tourney


January 26, 2023

Mike Motz

Leyton sophomore Shawnee Gamble during recent action. The Lady Warriors were unable to hold off Bayard in the championship game of the MAC Tournament on Saturday at Bridgeport High School.

Leyton's Lady Warrior Girls Basketball team has had a great run so far this season, but were unable to outlast a stubborn Bayard Lady Tigers team in the championship game on Saturday, falling 43-to-38.

On Friday, the Lady Warriors survived a tough battle with Garden County, with the game not settled until the final buzzer. The Lady Warriors were able to pull out the one-point victory, 42-to-41, relying on the strong scoring effort of sophomore Zaili Benish, who scored 26 points in the victory.

Both Friday and Saturday's contests were held at Bridgeport High School, and the girls' game on Saturday opened with both Leyton and Bayard playing tight defense, preventing any scoring in the first few minutes of the period. But Bayard finally found their scoring groove, and opened a 6-to-0 lead before Leyton responded. Bayard's height advantage and tough defense prevented good looks by the Lady Warriors and forced many turnovers. Bayard held a 12-to-4 lead at the end of the first period.

Leyton started to turn the momentum early in the second period, with Benish draining a three-point shot followed by sophomore Shawnee Gamble nailing down another three-pointer to cut the deficit to two points. Leyton started getting inside and grabbing rebounds, while Bayard's shooting went cold. Leyton took a lead, and junior Claire Watchorn hit two free throws in the final seconds to put Leyton up 19-to-14 at the halftime break.

Leyton kept the momentum going in the third period, with Gamble hitting three shots in a row to open the Leyton lead to 33-to-20, and the Lady Warriors continued to play tough defense and held a 34-to-25 lead at the end of the third period. But Bayard, led by the hot shooting of junior Lexi Fiscus, started to claw back in the fourth period, narrowing the Leyton lead to 34-to-30. Two baskets followed by a three point-hit gave Bayard a 37-to-36 lead with two minutes left in regulation, and Leyton never recovered. Bayard senior Kiera Miller put down two free throws in the final seconds, and sealed the 43-to-38 victory. Bayard did a great job of limiting Leyton leading-scorer Zaili Benish, while the Lady Warriors' shooting went ice cold in the final frame.

Gamble led the scoring for Leyton with 14 points while Fiscus led the Lady Tigers with 14 points of her own in the victory. Leyton drops to 9-and-3 on the season.


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