Alexis Robinson’s game doesn’t have a whole lot of holes, but consistent perimeter shooting has been one.
Not Saturday. At least for one night, the Ashland junior figured out a fix.
“I just really needed to play with a lot more confidence in my shot. Before, I really never had a lot of confidence in my shot,” Robinson said. “Today, I really did have a lot of confidence and told myself that it was going in even if it didn’t. I told myself if it didn’t go in, I was gonna shoot it again.”
Most of Robinson’s shots did go in. She lit up Madison Central for a career-high 31 points, hitting 6 of 8 3-pointers as the Kittens throttled the Lady Indians, 69-39, on Saturday night in Anderson Gym.
Ashland broke open a 19-14 game after one quarter by winning the second stanza 25-6.
Robinson had 19 points by halftime, and Madison Central had 16 first-half turnovers.
Kittens coach Bill Bradley said the first half was one of the best he can remember his team playing.
“Everything was clicking,” he said. “Alexis was running the show, and she always does, but when she’s hitting 3s, that just really opened it up.
“(Madison Central was) not sure whether to play man or zone then. It was zone because she penetrates so well; when she’s hitting 3s, though, they’ve gotta go man-to-man, and then we run our patterns that we run so well. It was just an unbelievable team effort.”
Josie Roberts chipped in 12 points off the bench and Haley-Sue Foutch added 10 for Ashland (18-5), which has won five straight games.
Lindsay Johns and Bailey O’Bryan each scored 10 points to pace the Lady Indians (12-10), who have lost six of their last eight games after a 10-4 start.
Madison Central senior center Shadae Bosley, a Cleveland State signee, finished with eight points and four rebounds.
The game matched two defending region champions who both returned just two starters from last season. But the Kittens look to be much further along in restocking their lineup.
“Now everybody’s finally found their niche,” Bradley said. “Shelby (Gransbery), Josie, Chelsea (Woodson), all of them are all kind of finding their role now.”
Madison Central coach Robert Cooksey figured it was not his team’s night when Robinson, who was shooting 18.8 percent from 3-point range on the season entering the game, hit her first three treys without even touching the rim.
Ashland hit five 3s in the first 3:49 of the second quarter — two from Alex Young, one from Woodson, and two more from Robinson, the first of which she banked in.
“Give them credit, they got hot and continued to expose us,” Cooksey said, “and even when we had a hand in their face, they were still hitting shots.”
The Kittens scored the final 13 points of the second quarter, the last six by Roberts, to open a 44-20 margin at intermission.
“That was Josie’s, by far, best game of the year,” Bradley said. “Her defense was outstanding, she took care of the ball, and we already had the lead, but when she went in, it was the spark that ignited it. We went crazy after that.”
Robinson recently committed to play collegiately at Colorado. She said getting that out of the way helped her as well.
“It really takes a lot of pressure off me. I’ve already got my college,” she said. “All I’ve gotta focus on is Colorado now.”
The Lady Indians have been to three straight 11th Region tournament finals and won two, but don’t return much from those teams and are in one of the toughest regions in the state. Cooksey noted Madison Central plays two state-ranked opponents from its region — Lafayette and Franklin County — next week.
“We’re looking to just play good basketball, .500 basketball if we can, this season,” Cooksey said. “We know we’re gonna have a tough road every night ... but that’s what we’re used to and just keep plugging along. There’s no reason to holler and scream and get excited about it, it is what it is and you just keep on going with it and play.”
ZACK KLEMME can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2658.