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Ryle responds to drop in basketball state rankings with 65-48 win over Conner in girls district game

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

The Ryle girls basketball team dropped two spots to No. 7 in the latest state rankings following back-to-back losses to defending state champion Louisville Sacred Heart and defending 9th Region champion Cooper last week.

That must have riled up the Raiders because they won their next two games by wide margins, including a 65-48 victory over Conner in a 33rd District seeding game on Friday in Union.

Ryle guard Quinn Eubank makes a steal to trigger a fast break against Conner. (Photo by Bob Jackson)

Those wins give Ryle a 16-5 record with eight games remaining on its regular season schedule. If the Raiders win four more, it will be their seventh 20-win season in eight years under head coach Katie Haitz, who has a 184-64 record with the program.

If they play as well as they did Friday, there’s no reason to think the Raiders can’t reach the 20-win mark once again. All five of Ryle’s starters scored in double figures compared to just one for Conner.

In the final minutes of the first half, the Raiders scored 10 straight points with three baskets coming off steals to take a 33-20 lead.

After the break, they shot 54 percent (7 of 13) from the field during a 21-16 run in the third quarter that extended the margin to 54-36.

Ryle junior center Sarah Baker scored eight of her 13 points in the fourth quarter to help keep her team’s lead in double digits. The Raiders’ other double-figurer scorers were junior Quinn Eubank (14), seniors Austin Johnson (12) and Abby Holtman (10) and freshman Jaelyn Jones (12).

Conner guard Anna Hamilton has a hard time getting a shot off against Austin Johnson of Ryle. (Photo by Bob Jackson)

Eubank scored 12 of her 14 points in the first half. Jones hit a pair of treys in the opening minutes of the third quarter to spark her team’s 21-point outburst. Johnson did all of her scoring in the second and third quarters for the well-balanced Raiders.

Conner’s only double-figure scorer was senior forward Juliet Strange with 11 points. Junior guard Anna Hamilton was limited to nine points, six below her team-leading average coming into the game.

Cooper defeated Boone County on Friday to clinch the top seed in the 33rd District girls tournament next month. The matchups in the four-team bracket will be Ryle vs. Conner and Cooper vs. Boone County with the winners advancing to the 9th Region tournament.

Last year, Cooper defeated Ryle in both the district and region finals and made it to the semifinals of the “Sweet 16” state tournament. The Jaguars have been the top-ranked team in the region since the beginning of this season. They have won 12 straight games to run their record to 14-2.

CONNER  11    9  16  12 — 48
RYLE        17  16  21  11 — 65   

CONNER (11-6): Simpson 4 0 8, Depenbrock 1 0 3, Craddock 3 1 8, Strange 3 5 11, Keller 0 2 2, McGraw 1 0 2, Hamilton 3 1 9, Kerns 2 0 5. Total: 17 9 48.

RYLE (16-5): Eubank 7 0 14, Baker 6 1 13, Fong 0 2 2, Holtman 3 3 10, Johnson 4 2 12, Jones 3 3 12, Carrigan 1 0 2. Totals: 24 11 65.

Three-point goals: C — Hamilton 2, Kerns, Craddock, Depenbrock. R — Jones 3, Johnson 2, Holtman.

Ryle player Abby Holtman tries to recover a loose ball between two Conner players. (Photo by Bob Jackson)


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