When the newspaper begins hitting shelves and racks on the morning of January 22, the Williamsburg Lady Jackets basketball team will be just hours away from competing against the Glasgow Scotties in round one of this year’s All “A” state championship tournament at Eastern Kentucky University’s McBrayer Arena in Richmond.
How did the Lady Jackets get here?
The Williamsburg girls qualified for their second All “A” state tourney of the past three years by defeating four teams in the recent 13th Region All “A” Classic at Pineville High School.
The Lady Jackets picked up wins over Barbourville, Lynn Camp and Pineville to earn their spot in the regional title game on January 10 against Jackson County.
Williamsburg defeated the Lady Generals 58-47 to punch their tickets to this year’s All “A” state tournament, which kicks off Wednesday at EKU.
Who are the Glasgow Scotties?
The Glasgow Lady Scotties made their way into the field of teams featured in this year’s All “A” state tournament after winning the Region 4 championship at Cumberland County High School.
The Scotties defeated Clinton County, Metcalfe County and the host Lady Panthers to win their regional championship, and they come into their round one game against Williamsburg with an overall record of 14 wins and three losses.
Glasgow has been led so far this season by the duo of Ashanti Gore (Sr. F) and Anzley Adwell (Jr. G). Gore is currently the team’s top scorer with 285 points, while Adwell is not far behind with 241.
Other key players for the Lady Scotties include Kayla Bradley (Sr. G), Nina McMurtrey (So. G) and Dynasti Page (Jr. G).
What will be Williamsburg’s keys to victory?
The Lady Jackets will have to play their best team ball in order to have a shot at advancing to round two of the All “A” state tournament, but a win over Glasgow is certainly within reach.
Seniors Lillie Hall and Madison Chapman will have to be accurate when shooting the ball, and they will need to work hard on the defensive end as well.
Junior Mikkah Siler will be counted on to show up big in the scoring category, and also to continue her role as the team’s top rebounder.
Additionally, Williamsburg head coach Randy Crider will need to get quality minutes from the likes of Gracie Lawson, Kaylee Graham, Allison Caddell, Morgan Prewitt, Hailey Brown and Zoe Williams whenever they are called upon.
The fact that most of these ladies have seen action inside McBrayer Arena before should help them to feel more at ease with the big game atmosphere, however, nothing can quite prepare you for stepping out onto the court in a state tournament. Focus will definitely be key.
What if they win?
Should Williamsburg make it past Glasgow in round one on Wednesday, things will get considerably more difficult for them in the tournament quarterfinals this Friday.
With a win over the Scotties, the Lady Jackets would find themselves playing either Danville out of Region 12, or Louisville Collegiate out of Region 7.
Both of these teams look really good, with Danville currently standing at 12-5, and Collegiate coming in at 9-4. Those records may not sound too intimidating, but let’s consider who each team has beaten so far this season.
The Lady Admirals of Danville High School boast victories over Pulaski County, Covington Holy Cross and Boyle County, among others. Meanwhile, Louisville Collegiate has bested teams such as Louisville Holy Cross and Kentucky Country Day.
Does this mean that the best Williamsburg can hope for is a win in round one of this week’s All “A” state tourney? Absolutely not!
If the Jackets play to their full potential, fans could very well see them make a deep run, similar to how they did two years ago. It’s just that each new opponent they face will likely be stronger than the last.
Just to refresh everyone’s memory, let’s take a quick look back at how Williamsburg performed the last time they made it to the All “A” state tournament, during the 2017-18 season.
Led by a strong senior class that included Kayla Gibson, Tori Lester and Kelsey Tye, the Lady Jackets defeated Pineville, Lynn Camp and Harlan to win that year’s 13th Region All “A” Classic championship title.
Williamsburg came into their round one game in the state tournament against Lyon County as the underdog, but ended up winning, 46-32. They continued to make history in round two, defeating Walton-Verona 51-47 in overtime to advance to the tournament semifinals.
It was here that Williamsburg’s magical run came to an end with a 49-33 loss to Shelby Valley, but that took nothing away from the amazing accomplishment of making it as far as they did when very few expected them to do so.
Will they be able to do it again? We’re about to find out!