A little persistence can go a long way.
Playing their third game in three days, the Ashland Kittens were slow to start Saturday afternoon, but dug their claws in midway through the game.
After trailing 16-9 to end the first quarter, the rest of the game was all Ashland, as the Kittens controlled every facet of the game to grab a 61-47 victory over Logan (Ohio) in the Tackett’s Body Shop Shootout at Ironton High School.
Instead of a big two Saturday, Ashland had a big four, with four of its players tallying double figures in the effort.
“This was an all-around team effort for us, and that’s what you want to see as a coach,” said Ashland coach Bill Bradley.
One of those players was Shelby Gransbery, who helped lead the charge in the second quarter, scoring six points to help give her team the momentum it needed headed into halftime as Ashland cut Logan’s lead to 26-24.
“I think we did a really good job of coming back there in the second quarter,” Gransbery said. “Our shots weren’t really falling, so we knew we needed to focus on our defense because we were having some problems offensively.”
With four steals for Alexis Robinson in the second period, defense did turn out to be the catalyst to turn the tide.
After the Lady Chiefton’s Ashley Frasure and Allison McNeil scored eight apiece in the first quarter, the Ashland defense allowed just two from the duo the following quarter.
Trailing 24-20 with under two minutes to go before halftime, a steal by Robinson led to a lay in for Gransberry, followed up with another steal for Robinson who knotted things up at 24 apiece with a lay in of her own.
Though the momentum had swung Ashland’s way, Logan’s Paige Davis kept her team in front with a nice drive as the buzzer sounded.
After the break, the Kittens’ defense tightened, allowing just seven points with a smothering presence on the defensive end. After relinquishing a one-point lead early in the third, a pair of free throws by Gransberry with 5:44 to go gave her team a 30-29 advantage.
From there, Ashland saw its lead swell to as high as many as 16 in the fourth quarter, icing the victory with a couple of late threes by Mykassa Robinson and Alex Young.
Bradley attributes the turn of the tide in the second half to his team's strong physical shape.
“Our conditioning really was our biggest ally today,” Bradley said. “I thought they got kind of tired in the second half, and we were really able to take advantage of that, forcing a few steals that led to easy baskets for us.”
Gransbery led the way for Ashland (15-5), tallying 16 points. Alexis Robninson and Haley-Sue Foutch each had 13, while Mykassa Robinson rounded out the double figures quartet with 12. Robinson also had four blocks and eight steals.
Logan’s Frasure led all scorers with 20 points, while McNeal and Taylor Myers contributed 10 apiece.
A little persistence can go a long way.
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