Defending region champion Ashland was ready for the season to start. And it looks like the Kittens have been practicing their 3-pointers.
Ashland hit 16 shots from behind the arc on its way to 79-35 win over Lewis County Thursday night at Paul G. Blazer High School.
Ashland coach Bill Bradley said his team looked sharp, and more importantly looked like a team that trusts one another.
“If we get wide open looks like we did, we’re going to make them,” Bradley said. “That’s just a testament to our team work tonight. We passed up a lot of open shots to kick it out and get better 3s because everyone on the team knows how well we can shoot 3s.
Leading the way for the Kittens was senior Kaylyn Gambill. Gambill finished with a game-high 20 points and was 6-of-7 from 3-point range.
And with her fourth 3-pointer in the game, Gambill broke the Ashland school record for most career 3-pointers.
Gambill now holds the record with 270 total makes from behind the arc.
But Gambill didn’t realize her record-breaking mark until a piece of paper was handed to her after the game.
“I didn’t even think about (the record) before the game. I completely forgot about it,” Gambill laughed. “I was just ready to come out and play. I’m really one of the main shooters on the team, and they count on me to step back and hit 3s. But everybody else has become great shooters as well.”
Fellow senior Madison Jones added 16 points off the bench for the Kittens and went 4-of-8 from 3-point range.
Alicia Gunter also came up big from off the bench for Ashland, scoring 13 points on of 5-of-5 shooting.
Sophomore Alexis Robinson added eight points along with 10 assists, five steals and four rebounds.
And while the offensive flow was tight, the Kittens’ defense was just as strong, forcing 23 Lewis County turnovers.
Bradley though, was more impressed with his team’s play on Lewis County center Savannah Anderson, who finished 1-of-11 from the field and only had eight points.
“Hayley Sue Foutch worked her rear end off tonight trying to guard her,” Bradley said. “Honestly she is a great player and the weakside help we got against her, especially Alexis Robinson, was really key tonight.”
Lewis County coach Jay Fite said his team has a lot to work on with getting the ball in the post to Anderson.
“She did get some good position but we have to be aware of the backside,” Fite said. “It’s something we need to work on. How we feed it, maybe feeding it to a different spot. That’s our game and they defended it really well.”
Lewis County was playing without starting point guard Emily Frye, who is missing time with a fractured arm.
But the Lady Lions struggled with Anderson struggling, shooting 30 percent from the floor and not scoring a point in the third quarter.
Sophomore center Erica Blake was the leading scorer for Lewis County, netting nine points, four coming in the wanings second of the game.
Fite expected his team to go through mistakes in the first game of the season, but now he expects his team to learn from them.
“We’re going to grow from this,” Fite said. “it’s not the first time we’ve been beaten. The deficit wasn’t appealing to anybody, but we’re going to grow from this game. We have a lot of things to learn from it, and we’re going to work on them.”
Lewis County will have little time to prepare. It’s next game is Saturday against Rowan County in the opening round of the EKC Tournament.
Ashland will be in action on Saturday too when the Kittens travel to face George Rogers Clark.
And, according to Gambill, her and the rest of the team are happy to finally be playing again.
“We’ve been looking forward to playing,” Gambill said. “We’ve been asking ‘When’s our first game? We’re so tired of practice.’ We just want to play.”
KYLE HOBSTETTER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2658.
LEWIS COUNTY FG FT REB TP
T. Frye 3-7 0-0 2 6
Fite 2-7 0-0 2 6
Thompson 1-4 0-0 2 2
Anderson 1-11 6-9 9 8
Liles 1-4 2-2 3 4
Hardin 0-2 0-0 5 0
Blake 4-5 1-3 2 9
Ruggles 0-0 0-0 0 0
Pick 0-0 0-0 0 0
Er. Frye 0-0 0-0 0 0
Stone 0-0 0-0 0 0
TOTALS 12-40 9-14 29 35
FG Pct.: 30.0. FT Pct.: 64.2. 3-point FGs: 2-7 (T. Frye 0-1, Fite 2-5, Anderson 0-1). PF: 8. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 23.
ASHLAND FG FT REB TP
Robinson 4-7 0-0 4 8
Foutch 3-5 0-0 2 8
Slone 4-9 0-0 3 8
Cullop 0-5 3-4 1 3
Gambill 7-8 0-0 2 20
Jones 6-10 0-0 1 16
Gunter 5-5 0-0 1 13
Young 0-0 0-0 1 0
Layne 1-2 0-0 0 3
Gransberry 0-0 0-0 0 0
Roberts 0-0 0-0 0 0
Hammond 0-0 0-0 0 0
TOTALS 30-51 3-4 15 79
FG Pct.: 58.8. FT Pct.: 75.0. 3-point FGs: 16-32 (Robinson 0-3, Foutch 2-3, Slone 0-3, Cullop 0-3, Gambill 6-7, Jones 4-8, Gunter 3-3, Layne 1-2). PF: 10. Fouled out: None Turnovers: 9.
LEWIS CO. 11 9 0 15 — 35
ASHLAND 32 16 18 13 — 79