Niece has big role in Simon Kenton 8th Region run

Niece has big role in Simon Kenton 8th Region run

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Niece has big role in Simon Kenton 8th Region run

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Simon Kenton senior Maggi Bosse looks for an opening. Simon Kenton 48, Shelby County 44, 8th Region girls basketball semis, March 7, 2015, Carroll County HS.

CARROLLTON, Ky. – Allison Niece is Simon Kenton’s leading scorer on the girls basketball team this year with 16 points per game, and has the most field-goal attempts for the year at more than 11 per game.

Coming into the postseason, though, head coach Jeff Stowers wanted his freshman guard to take an even bigger role in the offense and carry the team like veteran guards do in the playoffs.

Already in her third year as a starter after two years at Scott High School, Niece scored 25 points and hit two crucial 3-pointers late in the game to carry the Pioneers to a 48-44 win over Shelby County in the Eighth Region semifinals Saturday night at Carroll County High School.

SK (26-4) will play Anderson County (19-12) in the championship game 4 p.m. Sunday. It is the third straight year the teams have played in the final, with Anderson winning both times.

“We’ve been denied for two years and I think our girls are ready,” said Stowers. “They have a great program, a great team. Nobody gave either of us a chance to be in this position. We’re just going to put our best foot forward.”

SK trailed by four points, 44-40, when Niece hit her treys on consecutive possessions to give the Pioneers a 46-44 lead. The latter, with 1:35 to play, came off a long skip pass from senior Kelsey Schmiade, a timing play with Niece catching and shooting from the left wing.

“Ally has not been shooting the ball all year, she’s been catching the ball and looking to pass,” Stowers said. “I told her two weeks ago, ‘Ally, we are going down with you shooting the ball,’ and she looked at me and said yes.”

“I kept yelling to them it’s life or death. You lose, you go home,” Niece said. “In my mind, I was thinking ‘shoot it, shoot it.’ Coach Stowers has been on me to shoot it and I know I can shoot it.”

Down two, the Rockets quickly turned it over. The Pioneers played keep-away, passing the ball around for 48 seconds before Niece was fouled with 25 seconds to play. She missed the front end of a one-and-one and Shelby senior Savannah Raizor was fouled on the rebound. She went to the opposite foul line but missed the front end of a one-and-one. Sophomore guard Kendyl Gilliam was fouled for the Pioneers and made both foul shots to clinch the game.

“All year long, our plan is to get the game down to a couple of stops,” Stowers said. “We just had to make the stops, a turnover here and a stop there.”

Another big shot came midway through the fourth quarter with the Pioneers trailing by five. A 3-pointer by senior Maggi Bosse cut the deficit to two. It was only her ninth trey of the year.

“I threw it to her, and I knew,” Niece said. “She swished it. It was amazing, I told everyone we’re back in it now.”

The two teams had opened the season against each other on Dec. 1, with SK routing the Rockets, 54-28. Simon knew this rematch would be much different. Shelby ended 26-6.

“I figured going in, because it was the tournament, they would come out a little bit stronger and it’s also 30 games later,” Niece said. “And a lot of us were nervous, too.”

SK will look to avenge the last two regional final losses against a Bearcats team that looks much different than last year. Anderson hit nine 3-pointers in an overtime win over Walton-Verona earlier Saturday.

“They’re more of a perimeter-oriented team,” Stowers said. “They like to get to the line and create foul problems, pressure you and make you turn the ball over.”

Simon Kenton (26-4): Schmiade 1 0 2, Gilliam 1 2 5, Niece 8 5 25, Buckner 1 0 2, Bosse 5 1 12, Kunkel 1 0 2. Totals 17 8 48.

Shelby County (26-6): Martin 2 15 19, Todd 4 2 10, Hudgens 1 0 3, Holt 1 0 2, S. Raizor 2 1 6, M. Raizor 1 2 4. Totals 11 20 44.

Halftime, SK 25-21. 3-pointers: SK 6 (Niece 4, Bosse, Gilliam). SC 2 (Hudgens, S. Raizor).

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