Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

February 22, 2014

Boyd has new scoring queen

Wheeler breaks 37-year-old record; Lady Lions top Rowan

SUMMIT — A vintage Taylor Wheeler performance made her the all-time scoring leader in Boyd County girls basketball history.

Playing with a head cold in the Lady Lions’ sixth game in seven days, Wheeler kept attacking the basket Friday night against Rowan County.

The senior forward scored 17 of her 25 points in the second half, lifting her team to a 62-57 victory at Boyd County Middle School.

“The kids just found a way to win,” Lady Lions coach Pete Fraley said. “I know they’re tired because I’m wore out.”

Boyd County played every night from Saturday through Wednesday, took a short breather Thursday and was back on the court Friday for its final regular season game.

“Our team has been taking ice bath after ice bath,” Wheeler said. “It takes away soreness.”

As usual, there was no stopping Wheeler from getting to the basket.

After sinking 5-of-6 free throws in the fourth quarter, she made a driving shot to give Boyd County a 54-50 lead.

Rowan County answered with baskets from sophomore Hannah Bandura and Allyson Callahan to pull even, prompting Fraley to call a timeout with 1:59 remaining.

On the inbounds, Logan Fraley got the ball inside to Wheeler who powered her way for a hoop that put Boyd County ahead to stay.

“That’s Taylor,” her coach said. “She’s constant energy and always makes plays like that. You get everything she’s got when she steps on the floor.”

On the night Wheeler broke Paula Hatten’s 37-year-old school scoring mark of 1,727 points, Taylor’s little sister all but sealed the win. Savannah Wheeler, a seventh-grader, hit an open 3-pointer from the corner victory to make it 59-54 with 52 seconds left.

When they huddled for a timeout shortly afterward, Pete Fraley, a former Boyd County point guard, said he told Savannah, “‘I don’t have the guts to take that shot, but you did and I appreciate it.’ I gave her a fist bump and we went on.”

Taylor Wheeler took over the No. 1 spot on Boyd County’s career list late in the third quarter. Rowan County led 43-39 when Wheeler scored inside for her fourth basket of the quarter.

The Lady Lions’ coach immediately called a timeout, during which Wheeler was honored for the accomplishment. She knew she was getting closer to the record as the week wore on.

“It definitely means a lot,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for a better coach, and Logan is like my sister. Ever since seventh grade, I’ve had great teammates and never played with anybody selfish. I wouldn’t have broken the record if not for them. I feel blessed.”

Rowan County coach Jen Williams, in her first game back from a maternity leave, complimented Wheeler on her special night.

“She loves contact and has a great nose for the basketball,” Williams said. “She’s a competitor. She hurt us every time we played them.”

Boyd County (21-8) also got 13 points from freshman Alexis Lunsford. The Lady Lions shot 40 percent from the field and converted only 21-of-38 free throws, but helped force the visitors into 22 turnovers.

Rowan County (12-13) shot 54 percent and had the lead several times. Faith Conn scored 18 points and Candace Justice 16 for the Lady Vikings, who ran into early foul trouble and had starter Sarah Purdy leave with an injury in the third quarter.

“Rowan County had a nice game plan,” Pete Fraley said. “They did some nice things, like with isolation plays inside. They had us on our heels all night.”

Both teams head into postseason play Monday. Boyd County hosts Rose Hill Christian at 6 p.m. in the 64th District, while Rowan County plays Bath County at 7:30 in the 61st District at Fleming County.

ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at rstanley@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2671.

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