Irish defends top seed in home regional

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By: Chuck Chaney
Special to Guthrie Sports Page

The Lady Jays basketball squad could not overcome slow starts in the first and third quarter, as they fell in the Regional Championship game to the McGuinness Fighting Irish 46-26. Guthrie struggled against the full court pressure and allowed McGuinness to force 11 jump balls. Melinda led the Lady Jays in scoring with 7 points.

Defense was key early in the first quarter for the Lady Jays as they had their hands full with Irish’s Elyse Hight and Alexa Liendhard, who combined for eight of the Irish’s first 11 points. The Lady Jays were able to force McGuiness into six first quarter fouls. Lady Jays were unable to score until late in the quarter, when Gracynn Smith hit a nice back door lay up to put Guthrie on the board, Mikaela Murillo would hit one of two free throws with 6.1 seconds in the quarter to cut the lead to 11-3, Irish.

Mikaela Murrillo started out the second quarter nicely with a jump shot that gave Guthrie only their second field goal of the game, cutting the lead to 11-5. However, back would come Hight to scored on the ensuing possession. Midway through the quarter, Melinda Murrillo got into the action as she put in a break away lay up making the lead 17-7 with 4:43 remaining in the half. McGuinness would go on a 7-0 run until Ashley Shields was able to get to shots from the charity stripe to cut the lead to 26-9 with 3:00 left. Melinda Murrillo was able to hit one of her two free throws near the end of the first half to cut the  Irish lead to with 28 seconds left to 26-10.

McGuinness turned up the pressure and would start the second half on 16-0. Guthrie struggled to score from the field. Starting out the third quarter  before Smith was able to hit a basket with 1:22 remaining in the quarter. Shields got in the scoring as well, as she hit a couple of free throws. Melinda Murrillo would provide a buzzer beater at the end of the third quarter to cut the lead to 40-16.

The fourth quarter saw the Lady Jays get going offensively. Shields scored on a nice lay up. Smith followed an Irish basket with one of her own. It capped off a 10-2 run by the Lady jays which spanned 2 minutes and 50 seconds. Melinda Murrillo would hit a three-point shot late in the fourth quarter. Guthrie cut the lead as low as 44-25, but could not get any closer.

The Lady Jays falls to 13-10 and advance to Area Loser’s bracket next week.

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