Except for the host team, the 16th Region took a backseat in the Kitten Shootout.
Perry County Central and Montgomery County used strong efforts by their post players Saturday to slip past Boyd County and East Carter, respectively, then West Virginia powerhouse Huntington St. Joseph went on a 24-0 run to open its game against Greenup County.
Ashland did the Irish one better, reeling off the first 25 points in walloping Fairview in a 64th District seeding game.
The Kittens had been scheduled to meet Magoffin County in a rematch of last March’s State Tournament first-rounder, but the Lady Hornets had to opt out because of their participation in the 15th Region All “A” Classic.
That left Ashland coach Bill Bradley scrambling to find a replacement.
“We called everybody,” Bradley said.
Fairview, slated to play the Kittens on Jan. 10, agreed to move that game to Saturday instead.
“We’re happy that it worked out so that we had an opponent,” Bradley said. “It was a good event. The first two games were very close. In the third, people got to see (St. Joe junior guard) Mychal Johnson who is going to Notre Dame. And, of course, our game.”
Perry Co. Central 60
Boyd County 56
Defending 14th Region champion Perry County Central led wire to wire, but had to hold off Boyd County down the stretch at Anderson Gym.
Logan Fraley sank two free throws and then hit a 3-pointer to bring the Lady Lions within 48-46 at the 3:21 mark.
Shortly after, Perry Central junior standout Kayla Rankin returned to the court with four fouls and carried her team to the finish line.
Rankin, an All-State selection as a sophomore, got free to take an inbound pass and converted a three-point play that halfted Boyd County’s momentum.
“We didn’t do a good job in that situation,” Lady Lions coach Pete Fraley said. “Rankin was able to slip a screen and made the play. You put her on any team in our region and they are instantly a contender.”
The 6-footer was fouled on another basket and made the free throw to give the Lady Commodores an eight-point margin with 1:06 to go.
Rankin finished with 23 points, including 15 in the second half. She came in averaging 22.8, along with 12.2 rebounds.
It marked the fifth tournament or one-day showcase this season for Perry County Central (8-7). Guards Whitney Evans and Whitney Back added 12 and 11 points, respectively, and the team shot 25-of-32 at the foul line.
Boyd County (10-4) committed 23 turnovers and trailed by as much as 13 points in the first half.
“We didn’t take care of the basketball,” Fraley said. “When you don’t do that against a player like Rankin, you put yourself in a hole, and we did that.”
Logan Fraley scored 17 of her 22 points in the second half to lead the Lady Lions. Taylor Wheeler scored 19.