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Lady Eagles Clinch Share Of MRVC-East Basketball Crown

Conference Co-Champions!… With a win over Carrollton on Monday, February 28, the Holden high school girls basketball team claimed a share of the MRVC-East basketball season championship. The Lady Eagles finished the season with a conference record of 9-1 as they earned the title of co-champions with Carrollton. Pictured is the team after its win over Carrollton, front row, left to right, Kalie Slack, Kayla Rokusek, Liz Stout, Abby Wamsley, Brady Hinton, and Jocelyn McHenry; back row, Ava Young, head coach Ben Kiger, Jaci Gower, Alli Iles, Marah Klover, Millie Davidson, J’Lee Jones, Lilee Keller, assistant coach Cindy Keller, and Rachel Wamsley. Photo by Steve Edwards

A postponed conference game against Carrollton with the MRVC-East girls basketball season championship on the line was finally played on Monday, March 28 with the Lady Eagles running away with a 55-37 victory on the road.
The win by Holden concluded a nine-game conference game win streak for the Lady Eagles to put them at the top of the MRVC-East with Carrollton, the team that handed Holden its lone league loss of the season at home back on December 7.
A team effort displayed by the Lady Eagles put Holden in control of the game early on with a 17-4 near the end of the first quarter. Five late points by the Lady Trojans put the score at 17-9 entering the second period.
The Lady Eagles doubled up Carrollton’s score as they stretched their lead to 28-14 at halftime, and a 16-8 scoring advantage posted by Holden in the third quarter all but put the game out of reach for the Lady Trojans.
Holden girls basketball head coach Ben Kiger summed up the team performance a day after the win by the Lady Eagles which moved their MRVC-East record to 9-1 in an exciting clinch of the conference title a week after Holden dropped out of the district tournament.
Below is coach Kiger’s breakdown of Holden’s win over Carrollton.
“First, I want to point out that all 14 girls in that game contributed in a big way,” said coach Kiger. “I thought that our energy was fabulous from the start. We got big shots from Abby (Wamsley), Liz (Stout), Millie (Davidson), and Marah (Klover) in the first quarter.
“A play that was important was Rachel (Wamsley) following Abby down the floor, and getting an offensive board, then getting a free throw.
“We started out in the first quarter, and Marah and Brady (Hinton) get two early fouls. Jaci (Gower) gets called into action, picks up a quick two points, and plays really good defense,” continued coach Kiger.
“The second quarter, Lilee (Keller) gets a great pass from Abby on a fast break, and finishes. Rachel knocks down a three. We are up by 14 at the half.
“We come out, and I wonder what he (Carrollton head coach Michael Lock) has in store for us. I am afraid of us going through a drought in scoring as we tend to do this.
“They hit a big three, and then we respond with Alli (Iles) and Abby hitting big shots. Millie does a great job of finishing at the rim, and gets a couple of free throws.
“After being up 22 after three quarters, we run a play that they do a good job of taking away, and Abby hits Liz for a baseline shot.
“Kalie Slack comes in, and plays after being out for over a month. She gets a good box out, and plays great defense.
“The night was topped off by J’Lee (Jones) getting into the scorebook.
“To say that I am proud of this group would be an understatement. We have not beat Carrollton in a long time. That is a well-coached team, and on the other side, we responded,” highlighted coach Kiger. “It might have been our last game as this group, but we definitely saved our best for last!”
Following the win over Carrollton, seniors Abby Wamsley, Kayla Rokusek, Kalie Slack, and Brady Hinton described the game as they ended their Holden high school basketball careers on a winning note with a share of the conference crown in hand.
Wamsley finished with a team-high 20 points in the game. The senior guard who reached the 1,000-point scoring mark for her career the week before connected on four three-pointers in the win over Carrollton.
“Honestly, during the practices, it was a little harder to focus, but once it got game time, I think we were ready to go,” said Wamsley. “We were ready to play, and beat these guys because we’ve been trying to beat them for I don’t know, like three years now.”
Rokusek returned from an injury at the start of the season before again being sidelined with an injury. She made a spot appearance on the court in Holden’s Senior Night conference win over Lexington on January 10. The senior remained on the sideline with her team throughout the season. She was quick to point out the rivalry shared by the Holden girls basketball team, and their most distant MRVC-East opponent on the map.
“It’s kind of a funny story,” described Rokusek. “In middle school for our MRVC conference champs, they were our actual championship game, too.
So it’s kind of like a rematch. It was kind of like it’s either we have everything to lose, and they have nothing to lose. So it’s kind of like we’ve got to get it because they beat us at home, and now we beat them at their home by 20.”
Slack’s season was inturrupted by an injury suffered during the Lady Eagles’ 45-34 road conference win over Knob Noster on January 13. She returned for the post-postseason game against Carrollton to contribute valuable minutes, and her trademark hustle on the court.
“I got released today,” explained Slack. “It was really nice getting back to play with the team. I’ve been out for awhile, but once I got back on the court, it just felt natural.”
Hinton summed up the team’s focus during the season as the schedule ended with the opportunity to celebrate a conference championship in the final game of the season.
“Overall, I think we came in here to win it,” said Hinton after playing her final game as the starting forward on the Lady Eagles’ basketball team. “This has been our goal all season, no matter if it’s full conference or just co-conference, and I think we really got in here and took care of the job we came here to do. We didn’t give up, and we were ahead the whole game. We really took care of it.”
Holden’s scorebook shows Abby Wamsley with the team-high 20 points, Millie Davidson scoring 8 points, Alli Iles posting 7 points, Lilee Keller contributing 5 points, both Liz Stout and Rachel Wamsley scoring 4 points, Marah Klover totaling 3 points, and both J’Lee Jones and Jaci Gower chipping in 2 points apiece.
The Holden girls basketball team ends the season with an overall record of 17-10, and an MRVC-East Co-Championship mark of 9-1.

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