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SOUTH WHITLEY — Former Columbia City coaches, Wayne and Scott Kreiger, traveled back to Whitley County Wednesday night with the Canterbury Lady Cavaliers (5-2) to take on the Whitko Lady Wildcats (3-5).
Whitko fought to pull out a win over the Lady Cavaliers, who have won the Class A State Championship for the last three consecutive years.
The Lady Wildcats fell short, losing to Canterbury 69-63.
Whitko’s Micaela Sylvester and Canterbury’s Bailey Farley went head to head early in the game, with both players picking up a majority of the first-quarter points.
Farley had all nine of the Lady Cavaliers points, while Sylvester picked up 10 of Whitko’s 17.
With 20.2 seconds left in the first quarter, Sylvester went coast-to-coast and took the ball in for a lay-up, finishing off first-quarter scoring at 17-9.
Despite its lead, Whitko found themselves in early foul trouble, forcing Lady Wildcat head coach Rob Bell to put Sylvester on the bench.
While the first quarter was a battle between Sylvester and Farley, Whitko had no answer for Canterbury’s Kindell Fincher, who scored 18 points in the second quarter.
Fincher and Farley combined for 52 of Canterbury’s 69 points.
“Tonight Whitko defended us well, we typically have four players with double digits,” Scott Kreiger said.
Whitko’s first-half scoring was finished with a three-point basket by Whitko junior Karissa Olinske, leaving the Lady Wildcats trailing 34-33.
Olinske had the Wildcats’ only two three-point baskets in her 12 points.
Canterbury out scored the Lady ’Cats 25-16 in the second half.
Sylvester’s foul trouble continued into the third quarter when she picked up her fourth foul early in the half.
Sylvester went 17:20 without scoring, leaving Whitko at a disadvantage.
Rachelle Kessie scored off of two offensive rebounds with less than two minutes to go in the quarter, setting the score at 47-45 going in to the fourth quarter.
Along with her 15 points, Kessie had 16 rebounds for the game.
Despite Sylvester returning to the game and scoring nine of her 17 points in the fourth quarter, Whitko fell six points short 69-63.
Whitko shot 22-for-57 from the field on the night.
The free throw line was a big advantage for the Cavaliers attempting twice as many as Whitko. Canterbury went 26-for-38 at the charity stripe.
Ten of Farley’s 24 points for the Cavs came from the free throw line while Fincher held the game-high total at 28 points.
Though the Lady Wildcats wanted a victory over Canterbury, Whitko is looking to pick up a win Friday at Manchester and taking one step closer to the Three Rivers Conference Championship.
“We’re after championships this year,” Bell said.