St. Joseph’s Tykira Rancifer, the Planters Bank Player of the Week, could not breath a sigh of relief until the buzzer went off Monday night in the Lady Irish’s 38-35 victory over Central Holmes Christian.
Central Holmes made a 3-pointer in the game’s final moments, but time had expired before the ball left the player’s hands.
The victory for the Lady Irish (3-6) was a metaphor for their season — nothing has come easy but they just keep onfighting.
Rancifer, a senior, has been the spark plug for St. Joseph all season. One of only two 12th graders on the squad, Rancifer has had to carry her young teammates for quite a few moments.
“Tykira is very energetic and very coachable,” St. Joseph coach Suzzette Suggs said. “Tykira is willing to learn and that is the main thing about her. Every group that I have coached I have had a leader like Tykira. She means so much to this team.”
The Lady Irish have been playing shorthanded all season, with just six players making up their roster, although Coach Suggs is beginning to bring up some of her junior varsity players to the varsity team.
“The lack of depth on our team means we just have to work harder than the other teams that we are playing,” Rancifer said. “Honestly, we have some really good players on our team. If we play our positions, we got it. We all just need to play our positions.”
In Monday’s seesaw victory, the Lady Irish took the lead for good when junior Emma Kate Threet made a basket to put her team up 32-29 with 3:30 left in the game.
Rancifer would then sink another basket with 2:45 left to put St. Joe up 34-31.
“In the beginning of the game, we were down but I kept encouraging the girls to keep their heads up,” Rancifer said. “As long as we play our game, we are going to be all right.”
Threet finished the game with five points. Zion Richard scored three, and Lori Ann Hughes scored three.
This week will go along way in determining the postseason status of the Lady Irish. St. Joe was scheduled to host district foe Carroll Academy on Tuesday. They then are scheduled to host district opponent Winona Christian on Thursday. The Irish and Central Holmes are scheduled for a rematch on Friday in Lexington.
Rancifer added that she has one eye on her present with and on the future. She said she is seriously considering following in her mother’s footsteps and joining the Air Force.
“My plan is to go to the military,” she said. My mom was in the military and she did a great job of providing for me.
I just did some research and it sounded good. The recruiters that I have talked to have encouraged me to keep thinking about it.”