Boyd County and Ashland played more like hungry wolf packs than prohibitive favorites in the opening round of the Girls 64th District Tournament.
Neither of the 16th Region powers took anything for granted Monday night. Instead, both brought large amounts of intensity and focus to James A. Anderson Gymnasium.
Ashland, the defending region champion, scored the first 18 points in overwhelming Rose Hill Christian 96-33. Then Boyd County roared out of the gate for a 19-0 lead and blitzed Fairview 62-20. The rolling clock rule came into effect early in the second half of both contests.
“We played hard, played well and played together,” said Ashland coach Bill Bradley, whose team forced a flurry of turnovers in the opening minutes to seize control against Rose Hill.
Later, Boyd County made it difficult for Fairview to find an open look at the basket or grab a clean rebound. The Lady Lions’ defense yielded only 10 points through three quarters.
“That’s what we told them in the locker room, we were a huge favorite and wanted to come out and leave no doubt,” Boyd County coach Pete Fraley said. “We played with a lot of effort and pressured them into some turnovers.”
The two winners will meet in Thursday’s 7 p.m. district final. They split their two regular-season matchups.
“It should be a good game,” Fraley said. “Both teams want to go into the regional tournament as district champ. There will be a lot of pressure just because its Boyd County-Ashland, but it’s not like the loser will be staying home.”
Ashland (21-6) is trying to win the district championship for the sixth consecutive year.
Monday night, the Kittens connected on 10 three-pointers while shooting 54 percent from the field.
“We are still working on some things in the offense,” Bradley said. “They ran the patterns correctly.”
Ashland also outrebounded Rose Hill 51-24 and came up with 22 turnovers.
“I thought all 12 players came in with great focus,” Bradley said. “There was no messing around. They all were going after loose balls and running the floor. It was what you want from a game like this.”
All of the Kittens got into the scoring column, with the bench taking advantage of extended playing time to rack up 53 points.
One of them, Cayce Layne, scored all 13 of her points in the second half to lead the team. The 5-foot-5 senior was 3-for-3 from long range after the intermission and also finished with four rebounds.
“That’s her third or fourth good game in a row,” Bradley said. “Cayce has earned that No. 8 spot. She scoring a little bit, gets on the floor and boxes out. She will scrap out there.”
Allie Slone had a dozen points for the Kittens. Kaylyn Gambill and Maddy Jones each scored 10, followed by Haley Sue Foutch and Alexis Robinson with nine apiece.
Foutch, Cullop, Robinson and Gunter each made a 3-pointer in the first quarter as Ashland jumped out to a 34-6 lead and never looked back.
For Rose Hill (4-23), sophomore Madison Crum put in a career-best 18 points, thanks to her five 3-pointers.
Boyd County was equally impressive while extending its winning streak to nine.
An active and tough Lady Lions defense produced a slew of takeaways against a young Fairview squad that made strides this season while adjusting to new head coach Rex Cooksey. The Lady Eagles managed only one field goal each of the first three quarters.
“You have to compete every single possession against Boyd County,” Cooksey said. “They use their physicality in a good, clean way. You have to try to match it. You can’t stand around.”
Boyd County, now 24-7, built a 20-point cushion after one quarter and stretched the margin to 39 by halftime.
Logan Fraley scored 14 points, Taylor Wheeler 13 and Emily Stewart 12 for the Lady Lions.
Fairview closed the season at
“For the first year, the girls made a lot of improvement,” Cooksey said. “There’s a lot of work to do. We need to add strength.”
Rose Hill Christian (33) — Porter 5, Crum 18, Wehmeier 4, Grant 2, Steele 2, Fyffe 2, Brammer, Sizemore, Sparks. FT: 4-10. 3-point FGs: 5 (Crum 5). PF: 9. Fouled out: None.
Ashland (96) — Gambill 10, Slone 12, Foutch 9, Cullop 5, A. Robinson 7, Jones 10, Gunter 9, Layne 13, Gransbery 6, M. Robinson 7, Vanover 6, Roberts 2. FT: 4-9. 3-point FGs: 10 (Layne 3, Gambill 2, Foutch, Cullop, A. Robinson, Gunter, M. Robinson). PF: 12. Fouled out: None
ROSE HILL 6 14 7 6 — 33
ASHLAND 34 23 20 19 — 96
Fairview (20) — Bell 2, McPeek 3, Adkins 1, Mad. Humphrey 5, Bohanna 5, Mac. Humphrey 4, Meeks, Cornwell, Fraley, Burton, Reynolds, Mounts, Thompson. FT: 4-10. 3-point FGs: 2 (Mad. Humphrey, Mac. Humphrey). PF: 13. Fouled out: None.
Boyd County (62) — T. Wheeler 13, E. Stewart 12, Kenser 9, Fraley 14, Lunsford 3, Goins 4, Coburn 3, A. Stewart 2, S. Wheeler 2, Hunt. Reeves, Murphy. FT: 14-20. 3-point FGs: 4 (Fraley 2, Lunsford, Coburn). PF: 14. Fouled out: None.
FAIRVIEW 4 3 3 10 — 20
BOYD CO. 24 22 10 6 — 62