STORY BY CORY WOODROOF | PHOTO BY WHITNEY JARRELD
For all the history the Nolensville Lady Knights have accomplished in their short time around, repeating as region champions will have to wait.
The team dropped their 6-AA Region Semifinals game against Creek Wood out at East Hickman Tuesday night 50-46 in a last-second nail-biter, one that mirrored the lightning finish of their 12-AA district title win over Marshall Co.
“[Creek Wood was] just kind of the better team I think tonight for about midway to the second on,” Lady Knights head coach Chris Ladd said of the loss.
He mentioned the opponent’s ability to bank threes, which erupted in the third quarter, and Nolensville’s lack of adjustment to Creek Wood’s zone scheme as factors that led to the defeat.
Early on, the Lady Knights went back and forth with the Lady RedHawks, including multi-point runs for both in the second quarter. Nolensville went into the break down 23-22.
The third quarter was tough for the Lady Knights, with Creek Wood going on a scoring spree and catching a 39-29 lead going into the game’s final stanza. But credit Nolensville for getting back in to the game, as everything was within just a handful of points to the game’s final minute.
With 1:21 to go, the Lady Knights got within two, 44-42, but Creek Wood would ride the ability to be fouled and make free throws to widen the margin and eventually get the win by the final buzzer.
Grace Baird, whose offense powered the team in the first half and who drew extra attention in the second, led the team with 16 points, while Caymin Ladd and Kendal Matas had eight each.
The team will return all of its starters for 2019.
“What we’ve accomplished has been amazing already,” Ladd said of what the team has done in its three seasons, which includes a region championship in 2018. “It really hurts right now, but we’ll be back next year, and try to remember this feeling that you feel right now and how dejected you are, and just know that you can easily get back here next year, and [feel] what it feels like to get over this hump.
“I’m just super proud of the fact that we were district champs and season champs. Those are things that can’t ever be taken away, and that’s important, too.”
The team will be bidding farewell to its first seniors and soon-to-be alums, Iva Grubesic and Julia Nighan.
Ladd spoke to how much they mean to the team.
“They have been with us from day one,” Ladd said. “They work hard in practice, and are great teammates…they do everything we ask them to do. They just don’t always log the minutes that some of the others do, and they’re fine with that.
“That speaks volumes to their character, and the fact that they put the team first for three years.”