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MCHS graduate logs start for UPIKE in national tournament

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BILLINGS, Mont. – Magoffin County High School graduate Jamie Castle logged a start for the University of Pikeville women's basketball team in the 2017 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship last week. However, third-seeded Lyon (Ark.) College used a 16-1 fourth-quarter run to get past sixth-seeded University of Pikeville 71-59 in the first round of the 2017 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship on Thursday (March 16).

The teams combined for 12 lead changes in the first half, including seven in the first quarter alone. The Scots (28-5) went on a 6-0 spurt midway through the second quarter to gain the largest lead of the first half of five points at 41-36.

Three players reached double figures in the scoring column for Pikeville in the season-ending loss. Kandice Porter and Devin Conley paced Pikeville with 13 points apiece. Kelah Eldridge added 12 points and Brianna Burbridge collected a game-high 10 rebounds for the Bears.

Castle chipped in two points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal in 19 minutes for Pikeville in the campaign-concluding setback. 

Lyon outshot the Bears from the field just 40 percent to 38 percent, but made six more 3s at 9-3. The Scots also connected on 10 of 15 free throws, compared to a 4-of-7 showing by the Bears. Lyon had an extra rebound at 42-41 and UPIKE committed one extra turnover at 11-10.

UPIKE (21-11) led 36-33 with 6:42 left in the third when the Scots' Kelsey Smith hit a 3 to spark a 10-point Lyon run. Ali Tucker added a 3 and Kiara Moore finished a layup to put the Scots in front by seven with a little more than three minutes left in the frame.

Porter and Mia Greatrex scored on back-to-back layups to help UPIKE to an 8-2 run spanning the third and fourth quarter to get within one at 45-44, but that was a close as the Bears would get. Lyon followed up by scoring 16 of the next 17 points to take a 61-45 lead with 3:39 to play.

Conley tried to fuel a late comeback by hitting three 3-pointers in the final two minutes, including two back-to-back with 51 seconds left to get UPIKE within eight. But the shots stopped falling as the Scots scored the final four points of the game.

Eldridge and Porter wrapped up their decorated UPIKE careers among the top 15 scorers of all-time. Eldridge ranks 13th on the all-time list with 1,279 points, while Porter is 15th with 1,173. Eldridge also broke Allyson Preece's 21-year old record for 3-point percentage in a career at 38.4, while Eldridge's 41.9 percent showing from 3 this season is also a program record.

The senior duo of the first Pikeville players to play in three NAIA National Tournaments.

Liz Henderson led Lyon with a game-high 14 points. Four different Lyon players reached double figures in the scoring column.

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