Marshall County holds off Bethlehem 58-51 in Sweet 16 quarterfinals

Marshall County holds off Bethlehem 58-51 in Sweet 16 quarterfinals
Bethlehem's Jason Clark and Ella Thompson (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WAVE) - The historic run for Bethlehem came to an end on Friday night in Rupp Arena. The Banshees (26-5) fell 58-51 to Marshall County (24-2) in a quarterfinal in the Sweet 16.

Bethlehem led 28-26 at halftime, but the Banshees were outscored 11-7 in the third quarter.

“Hats off to them, they made free throws down the stretch, and made some big shots, that we just couldn’t get the ball to go in the hoop there in the third quarter, we kind of struggled putting the ball in the hoop,” Bethlehem head coach Jason Clark said. “I’m proud, that’s about all.”

Bethlehem led 45-42 when Carlie Thurmond connected on a three-pointer with 2:42 left.

Ella Thompson, who led the Banshees with 20 points gave them a 47-44 lead with a jumper with 2:05 remaining.

“I’m really proud of my team and all that we accomplished,” Thompson said.

Marshall County’s Cayson Conner took over from there. A jumper got the Lady Marshals with in 47-46 and then a Conner lay up put them in front 48-47 with 1:13 on the clock.

Conner came up with two steals in the final minute, hit two free throws with :39 seconds left and got an offensive rebound and follow with :27 seconds left. She finished with a game-high 24 points.

Clark was emotional afterwards, with Thompson and fellow senior Amelia Hodges joining him at the podium.

“Words can’t describe how much they mean to me,” Clark said. “They’ve won 90 something games in the three years I’ve been blessed to coach them. Two Class A Region championships, three district championships, two Fifth Region championships in three years, with a region final mixed in with that, and now an elite eight performance at the state tournament. Coming from a school with only 250 kids, that shows how special these two are, and I don’t know what college coaches look for, but these two can play. I don’t what the deal is, but I know if I was a college coach, I’d take them, I can tell you that.”

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