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Playing in front of a large crowd seated in beautiful new bleachers at Midway Middle School, the host Lady Waves were hoping to treat the hometown fans with a District 3-A Championship.
No. 1 seed Grace Christian Academy had a different idea, however, as the Lady Rams knocked off Midway 49-35 Tuesday night to capture the District 3-A Tournament title.
Despite the loss, Lady Wave head coach Jon Leffew was still proud of his team for making the title game, especially considering the Lady Waves start two freshmen and have just two seniors on the squad.
“I’m so proud of them and the good Lord has blessed me to be where I’m at,” Leffew said. “This team has come so far since the summer and the start of the season. Even since Christmas, we’ve come a long way. It’s all about how hard they’ve worked.
“Tonight, we just ran up against a good team and we made some mistakes that definitely hurt us. We didn’t knock down some open shots when we had the chance, but they do a good job of spreading the floor in their zone and not giving you a lot of good look. Plus they got some girls down low that do a good job of rebounding so we didn’t get a lot of second chances.”
While Grace eventually won by 14 points, it was Midway opening the game with a bang. The Lady Waves scored 10 of the game’s first 14 points and led 10-6 after the first quarter.
Jessie Lewis had a big first quarter for Midway with six points.
The second quarter, however, was a rough one for the Lady Waves. Grace outscored the Lady Waves 11-3 in the frame to take a 17-13 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“The second quarter has been out bugaboo all year,” Leffew said. “We scored just three points there and it hurt us.”
Tournament MVP Sydney Duggins led Grace with seven points in the first half.
While the second quarter was tough on Midway, the first 5:28 of the third quarter wasn’t any better. The Lady Rams outscored Midway 17-5 during that stretch as their lead ballooned to 34-18 with 2:32 left in the period.
Down but not out, the Lady Waves responded with six straight points before Grace scored a late basket to take a 36-24 lead into the finals period of play.
Midway’s Alisa Barger opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer that cut the lead to nine and Rachael Tuttle added a basket with 4:07 remaining that closed the deficit to eight at 38-30.
Midway, however, would get no closer as Duggins scored four straight points in what would be an 11-5 game ending run for the Lady Rams.
Duggins led all scorers on the night with 19 points.
Lewis (9 points, 9 rebounds), Barger (8 points), Alexis Taylor (7 points, 5 rebounds) and Abby Bertram (7 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) led the Lady Waves in defeat.
Following the loss, Midway now moves on to the Region 2-A Tournament where they will host Oliver Springs Friday night at 7 p.m.
“It’s going to be tough,” Leffew said. “I always try to take it one game at a time so I don’t know a lot about them yet, but I know Coach (Michelle) Christopher always does a fantastic job. We’ll go out and play as hard as we can, and let the chips fall where they may.”
Midway (35) Taylor 7, Bertram 7, Barger 8, Whitehead 2, Lewis 9, Tuttle 2.