by Andrew Hatton
CVT Sports Writer
The Estill County Lady Engineers basketball team enters the final week of their season with some momentum after grabbing wins over Breathitt County and East Jessamine. Estill fell in overtime to Wayne County to move to 17-9 on the season.
Coach Hall and company are fighting through late season complacency to finish the regular season strong. Just one more win would give the Lady Engineers their best record since the 2000-01 season, in which Estill finished 24-8.
Estill’s first game of the week was a showdown against Breathitt County. The Lady Cats were looking to rebound from losses to three of the best teams in the region.
Breathitt came out strong and jumped out to a solid lead against Estill. Their ability to slow the game down caused the Lady Engineer offense to stall. A game predicated on fluid movement off the ball and quick passing created high percentage shots, which enabled them to build a lead in the game’s opening quarters.
Estill was able to claw their way back by pushing the tempo of the game and stretching the Breathitt defense. Kaley Treadway almost single-handedly shot the Lady Engineers back into the game, hitting seven shots from beyond the arc to finish with 21 points.
Sidney Danyeur was able to make her impact felt on the game, despite Estill not making a direct effort to go to her in the post for much of the game. The Lady Engineer center grabbed crucial rebounds at the offensive end to finish on multiple second chance scoring opportunities. Danyeur finished with 11 points.
Despite the efforts of Treadway and Danyeur, Estill still struggled to overtake the Lady Cats for the lead. It would be Savannah Brewer that would get the Lady Engineers over the hump in a way that many would not have predicted.
Brewer is a player known for a few distinct traits. She’s an explosive athlete that can blow by defenders and navigate through tight areas, but her shooting ability doesn’t exactly make defenders sweat.
The junior guard shoots around 50-percent from the free throw line, as well as an abysmal 15-percent from beyond the arc. Brewer has shown that she can drive to the rim and draw fouls, which puts opponents in foul trouble on a regular basis. The trouble is that she struggles to knock down the shots that follow.
Something was different on this night, with Brewer stepping up exactly when her team needed her to. On top of hitting a three-pointer at a crucial moment in the game, Brewer knocked down clutch free throws that gave Estill a chance at grabbing the win.
With the Lady Engineers trailing by two inside the game’s final minute, Brewer got the ball and attacked the rim, drawing the foul. She would knock down both shots.
With 11 seconds remaining after the free throws, Breathitt would call a timeout. The Lady Cats were then attempting to create a chance for the go-ahead bucket when Brewer came up with the steal. As she drove toward the basket the Lady Cat defender reached out to prevent the easy bucket and fouled the Lady Engineer guard.
Brewer would miss the first, but knock down the second to give Estill the one-point advantage. With just seconds remaining, Breathitt would make one final attempt at the win but Estill would seal it with a Sidney Danyeur steal.
In a game in which they trailed by double-digits, the Lady Engineers had shown their resilience and earned the victory. They didn’t play their best, but through the work and experience, they did enough.
The win over Breathitt may have taken too much out of them, because the following night Estill was unable to close the game out late. A battle against Wayne County on Friday night took an extra period to determine a winner.
Despite strong showings from Brewer, Danyeur and McKenzie Flynn, Estill just didn’t have enough in the tank to take down the Lady Cards. The Lady Engineers’ ability to stay in the game while shooting 4-of-27 from three-point land showed their fight but also took a lot out of them.
Estill outplayed Wayne in the second half, but the Lady Engineers could muster only three points in the overtime period. The Lady Cards would go on to win 66-60.
For their third game in three days, the Lady Engineers traveled to East Jessamine to take on the Jaguars. While Estill were still battling fatigue, they had enough in them to take Danyeur and Flynn, who scored 18 and 14 points, respectfully, led Estill on the night. Treadway finished with 12 points, seven of which came from the charity stripe. Meagan Bellamy knocked down three shots from outside to add nine points to the effort.
After back-to-back 13-win seasons, the Lady Engineers now flirt with 20-wins. Just three years removed from a season in which they lost 20 games, Coach Hall has this team trending in a positive direction.
This positive trend was built through player development and a playing style that fit the girls on the roster. The best proof of this can be seen in Estill’s seniors Kaley Treadway, Sidney Danyeur and McKenzie Flynn.
The Lady Engineers like to push the tempo and spread the floor, both of which lend themselves to Treadway’s game. She has developed into a point guard capable of dictating the pace and play of this Estill squad, and can knock down shots from outside at a high rate in order to open things up down low.
The frontcourt of Danyeur and Flynn has become an absolute force over the past three years. Overcoming finishing struggles from years past, the duo is now able to score from the post or knock down a shot from mid-range.
Any of these three are capable of going for twenty any time they step on the court. Coach Hall has developed a style that emphasizes the strengths of these three, as well as the rest of the team, rather than forcing them to play a system that doesn’t suit them.
The success of this team came entirely from the work of this coaching staff, but also from the work these young ladies have put in. Coaches can aid growth and development of players, but the responsibility relies on the shoulders of the players themselves.
The Lady Engineers are a team capable of capturing a district title, and this team is self-made.
Estill will play their final home game on Feb. 16, as they celebrate Senior Night. The Lady Engineers are set to take on the Golden Lions of Garrard County.