In 2014 the Lady Eagles of Johnson Central went 21-12 but lost the 15th Regional Tournament in the championship game to Shelby Valley, 39-30. They then went 22-12 in 2015, not much better, but took off after the Christmas break and in the Regional final it was Johnson Central taking it this time over rival Sheldon Clark 62-46 after defeating the Lady Cardinals by only two in the finals of the District Tournament.
In 2014 Johnson Central had no girls named to the All State Teams nor as All State Honorable Mention selections. Ditto in 2015, So that says a lot about a team that played gritty, tough basketball.
It was the Lady Eagles ninth trip to the Sweet 16 without a win in the first eight. They would play Letcher Co. Central in the first round, a team they had defeated by two points on a last second three point shot in the season opener. They knew they had their work cut out if they were to advance. They had started the season at 5-9 but picked up steam as the season advanced.
The Lady Eagles started junior Bailey Daniel who averaged 12.3, junior Lauren Delong who averaged 9.1, junior Jayla Spurlock averaged 10.4, sophomore Lauren Salyer averaged 4.2 and sophomore Micailyn Pierce averaged 4.2. Top reserves were Ally May, Lauren Preston, Cheyenne Ross and Kelsey Auxier. No seniors. 
Their foe in the Sweet 16 started five seniors . They had gone to overtime to defeat Knott Co. Central in the 14th Region championship game.
Johnson Central trailed most of the game. Surely they could reach back and pull out another win and break the cycle of no Sweet 16 wins. Well, here’s how it went. With 1:19 left Daniel for the Lady Eagles hit a 16 footer to tie the game at 58. With the game tied at 60 and only seconds remaining, Letcher County Central commited a turnover and Daniel grabbed the ball and scored a layup. After a timeout, a desperation shot was missed by LCC and the Lady eagles had broken the spell. They had won the school’s first ever game in the girls Sweet 16. The LCC coach said that Johnson Central’s depth won the game, or at least played a large parts in it. The Lady Eagles played 11 people in that win. Bailey Daniel had 26 points for Johnson Central. She would be named to the All Sweet 16 Team. 
Johnson Central lost the second round game to Mason County but it was the ice breaking initial win that gave the school something to hang their hats on.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here