Tecumseh girls ousted from playoffs by Byng

Keven Scrutchins
Shawnee News-Star, USA TODAY NETWORK
Tecumseh's Katelyn LaFrance drives the lane against Byng Thursday night in Class 4A area play.

End of the road.

The Tecumseh Lady Savages’ season ended Thursday night to the Byng Pirates 46-33 in the Class 4A Area III Basketball Tournament played at Shawnee High School.

“They had the best player on the court tonight,” said Tecumseh head coach Eldon Gentry II. “Big time players show up when you get to this time of year.”

Gentry was speaking of Byng senior Kennedy Large who scored a game-high 22 points against the Lady Savages.

The Lady Savages faced a tough man-to-man defense by the Lady Pirates and navigated the defense pretty well in the first quarter and built a 10-5 lead on a Katelyn LaFrance three-ball with 3:20 remaining.

That’s when a lid was seemingly put on Tecumseh’s goal and Byng went on a 12-0 run that spanned 6:45 minutes of game play. A free throw by Byng’s Britney Brooks-Teel, with 6:29 left in the first half, capped the Byng run at 17-10.

Tecumseh’s shooting woes dug the hole much deeper by the end of the half. The Lady Savages could manage only two free throws in the quarter and trailed at the half 21-12.

LaFrance led Tecumseh with five first-half points and fellow senior Tawny Billy collected four before halftime. Large led Byng with eight points in the opening half.

The third quarter opened with a promising beginning for Tecumseh as sophomore guard Kenzli Warden drained a trey just 17 seconds into the half. That trey cut the Byng lead to 21-15, but the cold shooting returned soon after to doom the Lady Savages. By the end of the quarter, the Lady Pirates swelled the lead to 34-18 with eight minutes left to play.

The Lady Savages never gave up and whittled the lead down to nine points on two separate occasions in the final two minutes of the game, but it was much too little, too late.

Byng made sure the ball remained in Large’s hands in the final stretch run. Large scored six Byng points in the final 1:18 to seal the win for the Lady Pirates.

“We made it a game at the end,” said Gentry. “I couldn’t be more proud of this team and these four seniors. We all started together in seventh grade and moved up with each other into high school.” Large was the only Byng scorer in double digits. Brooks-Teel and Alona Cooper each scored nine points for the Lady Pirates.

Warden scored a team-high 11 points for the Lady Savages and Billy netted 10. LaFrance finished with nine points for Tecumseh.

Tecumseh finishes the season with a 19-6 mark.

“I told them (Lady Savages in the locker room) that the standard has now been set and we expect to be right back at this point next season,” Gentry said.