For The Independent
Thanks to Logan Fraley’s hot hand in the early going and some timely shots down the stretch, Boyd County played the role of spoiler Saturday at East Carter High School.
Though not a commanding performance offensively, the Lady Lions snapped East Carter’s 15-game winning streak and upset the seventh-ranked Lady Raiders, 51-48, on their home floor.
Afterwards, East Carter coach Hager Easterling had no problem pinpointing why his team came up short.
“We didn’t deserve to win,” Easterling said. “Boyd County deserved to win. They played harder than us the whole first half and wanted the game more than we did. We fought hard for 16 minutes, they fought hard for 32. You can’t do that against a good team.”
East Carter (22-2) trailed 37-30 entering the fourth quarter but had a chance to send the game to overtime in the closing seconds.
A 3-pointer from Bryana Greenhill with 55 seconds left made the score 47-46 in favor of Boyd County.
The Lady Lions (15-7) then turned the ball over but Megan Stickler was called for an offensive foul with 38 seconds left, giving the ball back to Boyd County.
The two teams then took turns at the free throw line but Greenhill put the Lady Lions up with a pair with only 10 seconds left.
East Carter hurried across the timeline and called timeout with just six seconds left. Out of the break, Kristen Mayo got off a 3 from the top of the key but couldn’t connect as the final buzzer sounded.
The Lady Lions lost to East Carter at home just three weeks ago and though pleased with the win, coach Pete Fraley was reluctant to put too much stock in it.
“It’s a good win, but it’s one win,” Fraley said. “We’re 15-7 instead of 14-8. (East Carter) is a very good team and very worthy of their ranking. It was hard-fought and whether it’s one point or 10 points, it’s a win and I’ll take it.”
Boyd County’s duo of Logan Fraley and Taylor Wheeler led scoring efforts for the game with 23 and 16 points, respectively. Logan Fraley canned five 3-pointers, all in the first half, that were key to the Lady Lions building an early lead.
Wheeler also led the rebounding efforts with nine and had four steals.
“Logan knocked (shots) down early and that was big because it let everyone else loosen up,” Pete Fraley said. “But Taylor just went to war. She went to the basket and owned the boards. She was just a warrior. If she keeps that up and Logan shoots that well, we can be pretty good.”
Pete Fraley was also pleased with his team’s defense, which made up for a lackluster night from the field. The Lady Lions hit 7 of 26 shots in the first half, then had just three baskets in the third quarter.
“We played very well defensively and made some shots when we had to,” Pete Fraley said. ”We knocked down free throws at the end and that was big.”
East Carter also struggled offensively in the first half, going just 7 of 23 from the field. But the Lady Raiders started to rally in the second half, hitting their first four shots of the third quarter to pull within four at 32-28.
Down the stretch, however, the shots again just wouldn’t go down as the Lady Raiders couldn’t capitalize on three Boyd County turnovers in a two-minute span of the fourth quarter.
“Sometimes when you win 15 games in a row, young kids think (winning) just happens,” Easterling said. “We let things slip, started missing layups and missing free throws. This has been coming for a while. We’ve not been preparing the way we should in practice and tonight it got us.”
Stickler led the Lady Raiders with 15 points, followed by 13 from Greenhill.
Boyd County enjoyed a 12-point advantage at the free throw line, where East Carter was just 8-of-17 while the Lady Lions made 20-of-26.
Despite the late-game slips that led to turnovers and East Carter having a chance to send the game to overtime, Pete Fraley agreed the win should be a lift entering the final stretch of the season.
“We’ll take these turnovers and hopefully build on them to be ready come district time,” he said. “We came out here and got a win and (East Carter) is still the frontrunner but a win like this definitely gives you a boost of confidence.”
BOYD CO. 15 13 9 14 — 51
E. CARTER 9 10 11 18 — 48
BC: Fraley 23, Wheeler 16, Goins 8, Lunsford 4. Total: 51.
EC: Mayo 4, Greenhill 13, Hall 9, Stickler 15, Stumbo 7. Total: 48.
3-pointers: Boyd County 5 (Fraley 5); East Carter 4 (Greenhill 2, Hall, Stickler).
Records: Boyd County 15-7, East Carter 22-2.