Lady Warriors heading to the 3A Regional tourney with clean slate

Tuesday, February 20, 2007
EPC's Jordan Madden goes up against Hoxie's double coverage in the 3A championship game last Saturday night. (Tribune photo/Dan Brawner)

Tribune Sports Staff

In 2005, the EPC Lady Warriors won their way to the state AA basketball tournament only to lose in the first round to Mineral Springs. Their record was 21-8.

In 2006, EPC lost only one game all the way to the state final against Strong only to lose in Alltell Arena. Their record was 27-2.

In 2007, EPC has not even been truly tested as they have marched through an always difficult NEA Tournament, the 3A-3 District regular season and the 3A-3 District Tournament with an undefeated 28-0 mark. But now the testing begins.

"If we make it to the regionals," coach Bobby Lewallen said some weeks ago. "That's where we're really going to meet some tough competition."

Well, those regional games start tonight at 7:00 (Wednesday) as EPC plays their first contest against 3A-1E 4th place finisher, Salem. To get to this position, though, the Lady Warriors had to meet and defeat two 3A-3 opponents at Manila last Thursday and Friday nights. And that first opponent, Corning, took advantage of some cold shooting from the Lady Warriors to make it a ball game for at least a short while.

EPC 54, Corning 31

"Corning has a good team," Lewallen said. "We weren't shooting well at first and they got hot, but we settled down in the middle of the second (quarter) and started playing."

Sade Madden opened the scoring for EPC when she hit the second of two charity shots for a 1-0 game. In what must have seemed like a trip into the Twilight Zone, the Lady Warriors weren't even able to work their way into a tie until Samantha King hit a trey to put the game at 18-all with 4:00 left in the half.

King's shot started a rally because by the time the halftime buzzer sounded, Madden and Jocelyn Joplin had pumped in four points each to Corning's single point to give EPC a 26-19 lead.

"We settled down and started playing our game," Lewallen continued. "Plus our defense started working and everything smoothed out."

The defense started working so well, in fact, that the Lady Bobcats were able to score only four points in the third period while EPC poured in 20 for a comfortable 46-23 lead.

Corning then took the final quarter 8-6, but EPC had the game put away as they advanced to the championship match with the 54-31 win.

Madden and King led in points with 13 and 11 respectively. They were followed by Joplin, Laporscha Williams and Jordan Madden with nine each, while Lauren Turner and Becca Ross finished with two.

For Corning, lacy Cates had 12.

EPC 59, Hoxie 41

The Lady Warriors met Hoxie, 70-61 winners over Manila Friday night, in the championship game Saturday night.

Unlike the Corning game, Hoxie never really posed a threat to EPC as King and Jordan Madden hit the first six points of the game. Rachel Goff hit a Trey for the lady Mustangs to cut the lead in half, but from that point on, the game was all EPC.

This was never more evident than when Sade Madden hit a trey at the first quarter buzzer for an 18-10 first period lead.

The second period opened with Goff once again getting Hoxie's first points when she cut the Lady Warrior lead to 18-12. However, it would be the last points for the Lady Mustangs for nearly five minutes as EPC hit for 11 straight to go up 30-12. Then with the halftime score of 36-16, there was little doubt who was in control of the game.

Hoxie apparently didn't realize this, though, as they came back with a vengeance in the third period, outscoring the Lady Warriors 11-4 to close the deficit to 13, 40-27 entering the final quarter of the tournament.

The Lady Mustangs had the opportunity to cut the lead by as much as five points when EPC was charged with a technical foul. After Hoxie's Jessica Anglin made the solitary charity shots, however, Hoxie through the ball out of bounds, canceling out the possible additional points.

For the rest of the game, the Lady Warriors matched their opponents shot for shot, closing out the game with a last second three-pointer reminiscent of the final shot of the opening period by Madden.

With 29 points, Sade Madden far outstripped the other players. Sister Jordan finished second with 12 while Joplin had eight, King and Williams 10 each and Ross two.

Fro Hoxie, Megan Black hit for 12, Goff 11 and Jessica Barber 10.

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