By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
Darrien Botts scored a game-high 32 points Monday but it wasn’t enough as Model Laboratory fell to Estill County, 65-53.
The Lady Patriots used a seven-point run mid-way through the second quarter to overcome a nine-point deficit that helped them take a 33-32 lead into the lockerroom at the half.
But Estill County came out on fire in the second half, outscoring the Lady Patriots 18-7 in the third quarter to go up by 10 points at the end of the third quarter and never relinquished the lead.
Model coach Bobby Storie said he liked what he saw out of his young team in his first game as coach.
“You can’t fault our effort. They’re a good bunch of kids and they played hard and did everything we asked them to do,” Storie said. “They’re a fun bunch to coach.”
The Lady Engineers stretched their lead to 52-40 to start the fourth quarter, but the Lady Patriots refused to quit.
Hayley Hunt put back a missed Botts jumper and added the free throw after being fouled, then Botts nailed a jumper to pull Model to within seven with 5:05 remaining.
The Estill County defense stiffened, holding the Lady Patriots scoreless for the next three minutes, fueling an 8-0 run to push the lead to 15 points with three minutes remaining.
The Lady Patriots got several open looks at the basket during that stretch, but it looked like the pace of the game and the short bench began to take its toll as the shots were falling short.
“When we were down by five there in the fourth quarter, I think the wind went out of us,” Storie said. “We’re playing five guards but we battled them on the boards. I’m extremely proud of our effort.”
Early on it looked like it was going to be a long night for Model. Estill County jumped out to a 14-7 lead after back-to-back three pointers by Kennedy Flynn and Kaley Treadway.
But behind the play of Botts and Hunt, The Lady Patriots fought their way back into the game.
The duo scored all 15 of Model’s points, including eight of the final 11 points of the quarter to pull the Lady Patriots to within 17-15.
The second quarter it was all Botts as the senior gave the Lady Engineers defense fits.
Model spread the floor and allowed Botts to attack the rim one-on-one with an Estill defender. She poured in 13 of Model’s 18 second-quarter points and helped the Lady Patriots to take the lead at the half.
“When we get the ball into Darrien and Haley’s hands we’re pretty good,” Storie said. “The second half they did a better job of denying her the ball and we missed some open shots that we usually hit. But I’m proud of the way they competed the entire game.”
Flynn led Estill County with 25 points. Bethany Hall added 14 and Taylor Young had nine.
Model returns to action on Saturday when they host Sayre at 3 p.m.