Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

January 12, 2014

Ashland, Boyd girls net impressive wins

Lady Lions rally from 16 down

FAIRLAND, Ohio — When the going gets tough, the Ashland Kittens turn to a double dose of veterans.

Trailing 32-30 midway through the third period, a four-point trip by Haley-Sue Foutch led to a slew of baskets by herself and fellow junior Alexis Robinson, pushing Ashland to its largest lead of 43-34. This third-quarter cushion proved to be huge as Ashland staved off a fourth-quarter run by Centennial (Ohio) to grab a 55-52 win in the Napa Auto Centers Hoops Classic in Fairland.

Ashland coach Bill Bradley gave credit to the leadership of his veterans.

“In a game like this, against an athletic group of players, you want your best to step up for you, and they really took over for us when it counted,” Bradley said.

After going back-and-forth for most of the first half, the Stars gained their first lead midway through the third when Alyssa Dean took the ball coast-to-coast to put her team up 32-30.

Foutch, who had 19 points on the day, responded with a lay-in, taking a foul in the process. After coming up empty at the line, she completed a four-point trip with a big putback for the Kittens.

The duo of Foutch and Robinson combined for 13 of the Kittens’ 15 third-quarter points.

“We knew that they weren’t going to give up, and we know our roles as the veterans on this team, so we just stepped up,” Foutch said.

“We take pride in knowing that we are leaders on this team, and we figured we needed to take control at that point in the game,” Robinson said.

A few turnovers by the Kittens down the stretch of the fourth allowed Centennial (9-5) to make a game of it. With less than two minutes to go, Dean made the most of the opportunities, pulling her team within one of the Kittens at 51-50.

Robinson quickly responded with a drive through the lane, followed up with a 3-pointer by Shelby Gransberry.

The two teams exchanged turnovers three times in the final minute before the Stars’ Izzy Luances broke free for a layup, cutting the Kittens’ lead to 55-52.  Bradley and his Ashland squad breathed a sigh of relief when a turnover led to a final attempt at a tie, with Luances’ 3-point attempt rattling in and out.

“We’re not used to playing that athletic of a team, and you have to take care of the ball down the stretch,” Bradley said. “Besides our few veterans, we are young and we realize that we are going to make those kind of mistakes. But we survived in the end, and that’s what matters.”

Centennial coach Darrin Green had nothing but good things to say about his team’s effort.

“We found ourselves down by as much as eight or 10 several times in the game, and we were able to fight back,” Green said. “I feel really good about my kids after this effort, and as a coach you’ve got to give your girls credit when they give that kind of effort.”

Robinson led all scorers with 23 points to go along with Foutch’s 19. Gransberry added eight for Ashland (9-3).

Centennial was led by Dean’s 17, with Marissa Robertson and Akiya Brown joining her in double figures with 12 and 11, respectively.

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