Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 6, 2014

Kittens' pressure rattles Raceland

Matt Fultz
For The Independent

ASHLAND — With the end of the season rapidly approaching, Ashland coach Bill Bradley wanted his team to practice rotating between different defenses.

While the Kittens’ defensive alignments seemed to be ever-changing, the results remained constant as Ashland’s relentless pressure forced Raceland into 34 turnovers.

Ashland converted many of the Lady Ram miscues directly into points to cruise to a 65-34 victory Wednesday night at James A. Anderson Gymnasium.

“In order to prepare for the tournament, we called six or seven defenses,” Bradley said. “The communication is getting a lot better now, especially with Haley-Sue (Foutch). She does a really good job of calling out the defenses.”

Raceland (8-12) managed a mere 23 shots, making 10 against the Ashland defense.

“They had 20 points at halftime, and we did a good job of limiting them to just 14 in the second half,” Bradley said. “I thought the whole key to the game was our pressure defense.”

While rarely surrendering an open look on the defensive end, the Kittens (16-5) had no trouble finding open shots on offense as four players reached double figures.

In fact, Bradley said his team turned down plenty of open shots they should have taken.

“We over-passed and it led to some turnovers for us,” he said. “We passed up some shots that we really should have taken, but the teamwork from this group has just been wonderful all year.”

And just as with defense, Bradley had some things he wanted to work on offensively, mainly getting talented junior Shelby Gransbery to attack the basket more.

“We told her to really concentrate on going to the basket,” Bradley said of Gransbery, who finished with 10 points. “She has a really nice little jump shot, but we really told her to go to the basket tonight. She got hit a few times and it wasn’t called, but she did a good job playing through that and keeping her head up. She is going to be a force by the end of the year.”

Standout point guard Alexis Robinson finished 5-of-14 from the field for 10 points, but she did a nice job of getting her teammates involved and being engaged on defense.

“She can really get a decent shot off about anytime that she wants, but since the first of the year she has really started to trust her teammates,” Bradley said. “Her defense was great too. She was getting after loose balls, and that is something that she has been working on.  Her shots will come, eventually.”

Foutch joined Robinson and Gransbery in double figures scoring a game-high 20 points. Alex Young, who connected on three 3-pointers, was the final Kitten to eclipse the 10-point mark, tallying 13.

Lacee Penix was the lone Lady Ram to reach the 10-point plateau, as she scored 11.