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FFB runs past Goodwin Bros. for girls YBL crown

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Team members and coaches of First Financial Bank pose with the big trophy while holding smaller individual trophies representing regular season and tournament championships after Thursday night's girls tournament championship game of the New Castle Evening Optimist/Henry County YMCA Youth Basketball League in the Fieldhouse. First Financial defeated Goodwin Bros. Automotive 35-17 for the tournament title to complete a perfect 16-0 season.
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Kenley Cornelius (20) of First Financial Bank tries to make a decision with the ball as Goodwin Bros. Automotive's Autumn Poe (5), Laci Southerland (54), and Taylor Shelton (45) defend while FFB's Olivia Parham (33) calls for the sphere during Thursday night's girls tournament championship game of the New Castle Evening Optimist/Henry County YMCA Youth Basketball League in the Fieldhouse. Cornelius had game highs of 23 points and 10 rebounds in First Financial's 35-17 victory over Goodwin Bros.

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

Girls Division regular season champion First Financial Bank put the icing on the cake of a perfect season by defeating Goodwin Bros. Automotive 35-17 in the championship game of the New Castle Evening Optimist/Henry County YMCA Youth Basketball League Tournament for the girls Thursday night at New Castle Fieldhouse.

First Financial finished its unblemished season with a 16-0 record while Goodwin Bros. ended the 2018-19 campaign at 9-7.

FFB had established itself as the girls team to beat this season as it rolled through the regular season and two-game tourney without a loss, led by a diminutive guard who appears can do it all.

Regular season girls scoring champion (by a wide margin) Kenley Cornelius, who attends school in the South Henry School District, showed she can do the same come tournament time, as she racked up a game-high 23 points and also pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds for champion FFB.

All 10 baskets for Cornelius were of the two-point variety, and she also hit 3-of-6 free throws.

"We had a really good team this year," Cornelius said after the night's awards ceremony. "I really like basketball, and my favorite part is offense. I like to score. But I still couldn't do all that I do without help from my teammates. We wanted to go undefeated, and we did."

This year's tournament was kind of unique, as Kenley's brother Bryant played for Sadler Orthodontics in the boys tournament championship game played prior to the girls contest. Sadler lost to Smith's Jewelers 43-35, but it is believed this is the first time that a brother and sister had played on teams for a tourney championship on the same night.

FFB outrebounded Goodwin Bros. 30-21 in the contest, but that edge on the boards wasn't as big a factor in the girls game as it was for the boys.

For a while, folks seated in the Fieldhouse probably wondered if Goodwin Bros. would score, as FFB rolled to a 6-0 lead after one quarter of play and boosted that advantage to 18-0 with 1:56 left in the first half.

Cornelius scored 14 of FFB's points in that opening surge, while teammates Olivia Parham and Watkuweis Watson tallied a bucket apiece for two points each.

Anna Tyner finally removed the goose egg on the scoreboard for Goodwin Bros. by hitting one of two free throws 1:41 before the halftime horn, and Laci Southerland tossed in a three-pointer as Goodwin Bros. scored the final four points of the opening half to trail 18-4 at intermission.

Goodwin Bros. showed good character in not tossing in the towel, and battled FFB pretty evenly after that. In fact, Goodwin Bros. outscored FFB 7-5 through much of the third quarter and trailed 23-11 with 52 seconds left in the period before FFB's Makenzie Clark scored a bucket and Cornelius added a pair of charity tosses to extend the FFB lead to 27-11 after three.

First Financial outscored Goodwin Bros. 9-7 in the fourth quarter o account for the final score.

In addition to Cornelius, other scoring for FFB came from Watson and Clark with four points apiece, and Lilliana Lynch and Parham added two points each. Parham pulled down six rebounds, Watson five, and Rozlynn Gibson three.

Tyner led Goodwin Bros. in scoring with six points, followed by Southerland with five, Taylor Shelton four, and Allison Perdew two. Tyner also led her team in rebounding with six boards, followed by Shelton with four, and Southerland three.

First Financial Bank 35, Goodwin Bros. Automotive 17

GOODWIN BROS. AUTOMOTIVE (17)

A. Poe 0 0-0 0, Perdew 1 0-0 2, Tyner 2 1-4 6, Shelton 2 0-2 4, Southerland 2 0-0 5, S. Poe 0 0-0 0, Eaton 0 0-0 0, Dishman 0 0-0 0, Scott 0 0-0 0, Lapp 0 0-0 0. Totals 7 1-6 17.

FIRST FINANCIAL BANK (35)

L. Lynch 1 0-0 2, Watson 2 0-2 4, Cornelius 10 3-6 23, Clark 2 0-0 4, Parham 1 0-0 2, Gibson 0 0-0 0, K. Lynch 0 0-0 0, Dobbs 0 0-0 0, Platts 0 0-0 0, King 0 0-0 0, Arthur 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 3-8 35.

Goodwin Bros.`0`4`7`6`-17

First Financial`6`12`9`8`-35

3-point goals – Goodwin Bros. 2 (Tyner, Southerland), First Financial 0. Rebounds – Goodwin Bros. 21 (Tyner 6, Shelton 4), First Financial 30 (Cornelius 10, Parham 6, Watson 5). Total fouls – Goodwin Bros. 7, First Financial 7. Records – Goodwin Bros. 9-7, First Financial 16-0.