By: Jim Steele
For the first 10:29 of the District 13A girls quarterfinal between host McKenzie and Clarksburg, MHS seemed to have wrested control of the game. The Lady Rebels darted to a 25-8 lead and appeared to be on the fast track for the district semifinals and a regional tournament bid.
From there, Clarksburg started to heat up, McKenzie cooled down and the Lady Rockets exploded in the fourth for a 55-45 victory.
For three quarters, McKenzie was able to keep Clarksburg at arm's length, but the Lady Rebels were having greater difficulty scoring. MHS was able to keep the margin at eight after the third, 37-29. From there, it seemed there was a force field around the Lady Rebel basket.
In the final frame, McKenzie was a palty 2-11 from the floor and 4-9 from the free throw line. Clarksburg bolted to an 11-2 run to start the fourth and led 40-39 with 5:03 to play. It was Clarksburg's first lead since the 5:24 mark of the first. Rachel Tucker's two triples helped catapult the Lady Rockets to the lead. Mikayla Peterson buried a triple with 4:38 to play for a 43-39 lead and it seemed things were starting to slip away from the Lady Rebels.
Bailey Nelson managed to score with 2:40 left in the game, but that was the last time MHS scored from the floor. Caselyn Derryberry's three-point play with 2:35 left in the fourth lifted Clarksburg to a 46-41 lead. From there, the Lady Rockets hit 10 of their last 11 free throws in the final 2:33. The Lady Rebels still could not find the mark and the Lady Rockets escaped with the victory.
Peterson led the Lady Rockets with 27 points. Tucker had 10, Ashlyn Yarbrough and Derryberry each had seven and Macy Ward added two.
Anna Comer led the Lady Rebels with 17 points. Shelby Davis scored nine, Shelby Butler added six, Carissa Britt and Jacey Davis notched five each while Nelson had three.
Clarksburg will battle top-seeded Huntingdon 6 p.m. Friday at Bethel University's Crisp Arena in the District 13A semifinals and will head to the Region 7A tournament next week. McKenzie's season ended as a result of the loss. The Lady Rebels bid farewell to seniors Carissa Britt and Anna Comer.