Fall to Lady Irish, 64-30
Mike Motz, Sidney Sun-Telegraph
Leyton's Lady Warrior Girls Basketball team had a fantastic season, compiling a 16-and-5 record before losing in the first round of the NSAA Tournament in Lincoln on Thursday, March 2, to the Falls City Sacred Heart Lady Irish 64-to-30.
It was Leyton's first tournament appearance in 40 years, and the number 8 seeded Lady Warriors had the misfortune of drawing the defending champions, and No. 1 seeded Falls Sacred Hear Lady Irish.
The Lady Irish had length and experience and a ferocious defense, and knew how to react to the pressure of NSAA Tournament basketball. The Leyton team was new to the scope of the tournament, but handled themselves well and gave a good showing in the early going. Both teams played good defense as they worked out the jitters, and after Sacred Heart took an early lead, Leyton fired back to take a 7-to-6 lead when sophomore Sydney Fortune drained a three point shot. Sacred Heart then went on an 8-to-0 run to close the quarter, pulling away from Leyton while their defense stifled the Lady Warriors' attack and caused repeated turnovers.
The Lady Irish continued to pick the Lady Warriors' pockets during the second quarter while they continued to score. Leyton tried to fight back but the speedy and long defense was too much for Leyton to overcome. Falls City took a comfortable 28-to-16 lead into the halftime intermission. The Lady Irish defense was fast and positioned themselves well, dominating the boards and trapped the Lady Warriors repeatedly while they tried to move the ball on offense.
This pattern continued in the second half with Leyton trying to beat the Lady Irish defense, but the Falls City girls speed and long arms foiling the Lady Warriors attempts. The Lady Irish forced three straight turnovers to start the half, went on a 6-to-0 run, forcing a quick Leyton time out. Leyton could not stop the Falls City team from stealing the ball, and they were able to put up points off of turnovers all game long.
The Lady Irish put up another 36 points in the second half, while limiting the Lady Warriors to just single digit scoring in each quarter. The Lady Warriors tried their best to rally and go on a run, but the Lady Irish's defense was just to tough on that day. The Lady Warriors ended their season with a 64-to-30 loss. Sophomore Zaili Benish led the offense with 19 points, with 12 scored on four successful three point attempts. After the game, Head Coach Jed Benish said, "They were the best defensive team we've ever played, just bigger and faster than us. The experience will make us a better team."
The young Lady Warriors gained invaluable experience with their Tournament drive, and look for Leyton to come back even stronger next year.