Calloway County junior forward Charlee Settle is a player unlike Caldwell County has seen or will see much of again this season, but their encounter on Monday night was likely for the better despite a 56-47 loss to the Lady Lakers (15-4) at home.
With both teams mired in a losing skid, the streak had to end for someone, and Settle’s 17 points and 10 rebounds (averaging 23.7 points and 11 rebounds to lead Region 1 in both categories) made sure that the Lady Lakers wouldn’t lose a third straight game.
Caldwell County (7-10) got an inspiring and consistent 20-point and six-rebound effort from Bella McConnell inside, and despite getting out-rebounded 37-17, kept the game competitive from start to finish against the Region 1 favorites.
“Bella has been our rock all season,” head coach Malissa Thomas said. “She’s our leading scorer, leading rebounder, she just does it all. Whatever we need, she does. We needed points and she gave us points tonight. I’m really proud of her effort as always. We know what we’re going to get with her night in and night out and I appreciate kids like that.”
Jada Boyd added 12 points for the Lady Tigers, and Jacey Jaggers scored eight.
Elle Carson scored 16 ( making nine of 10 free throw attempts) for the Lady Lakers and Keeli Puckett scored 11 points with three three-pointers, but it was center Kelly Underhill (10 points and nine rebounds) that made the difference early for Calloway County, with strong early moments.
The Lady Lakers owl put four players in double figures, and that seemed to make all the difference.
Despite losing 9-2 on the glass in the first quarter, Jaggers and the Lady Tigers trailed just 11-8 after Carson’s buzzer beater.
Then, it was Settle’s turn to take over with a 7-0 Lady Laker run to start the second frame.
McConnell stayed the course, and kept the game tied 22-22 at the half.
“We played Calloway last year and beat them during our tournament, so we knew what she could do,” Thomas added. “She brought that again tonight and It’s fun to watch a kid like her play. She is just os good at everything. She can shoot from the outside, she can score inside, she’s; huge and she defends well. You can’t be the best unless you play with the best, and when you get a chance to go up against the best. It gives our kids someone to look at and someone to strive to be like.”
Another mini 5-0 Calloway County run opened the second half, and a three by Puckett at the end of the third ended a 16-7 run; the deciding one.
Caldwell County would never get closer than within nine points the rest of the way.
Another Puckett bucket from downtown shut the door on any comeback attempt from the Lady Tigers, but there was still plenty of positive takeaways going forward after the 17th game of the season.
“Calloway County knocked down shots when we didn’t,” Thomas added. "Our intensity was there, our effort was there. Our want to was there. They were just more productive, especially from the perimeter.”
Caldwell County won the last meeting with Calloway County 52-51 last season, and were an improved 11-16 from the free throw line Tuesday night, but made just one three-pointer to Calloway County’s five.
Caldwell County travels to Trigg County next Tuesday at 6 p.m. and will try to snap a four-game losing streak.
“We’ve got to look at this game as a positive. We played well and we competed,” Thomas said. “Calloway County is one of the top teams in Region 1 and if we can compete with Calloway, we can compete with anyone in the region. I hope that we can gain some confidence. You schedule teams so you can get better and I feel like we got better tonight with a loss. That’s what these games are about."