Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 3, 2013

Boyd tackles first task

Defense carries Lady Lions past Fleming, 52-39

Rocky Stanley
The Independent

MOREHEAD — When Boyd County and Fleming County tangle in girls basketball, there’s never a shortage of bumps and bruises.

Boyd County sophomore Logan Fraley absorbed her share Saturday afternoon, but never let that slow her down.

Fraley tossed in 18 points to go with five assists, while the Lady Lions’ zone defense shut down Fleming County in the 16th Region Tournament opener at Morehead State University.

Boyd County limited the 61st District champs to 10 baskets in 42 attempts (23.8 percent) on the way to securing a 52-39 win.

“They play such a good, aggressive zone,” Fleming County coach Kristy Orem said. “Somebody said at every position Boyd County was bigger, longer than us. When they spread their arms out, we had a hard time. They just took us out of our normal offensive placement.”

The Panthers struggled to find openings in the Lady Lions’ defense. And when they did, Boyd County’s 5-foot-11 Morgan Kenser blocked three shots and altered several others.

“Morgan was a key inside with her blocked shots and seven rebounds,” Lady Lions coach Pete Fraley said. “She’s a presence in there. When she plays like that, our defense gets better.”

Taylor Wheeler and Hunter Reeves each came up with four of Boyd County’s 14 steals. Emily Stewart and Logan Fraley added two apiece.      

“Our defense is what transitions into our offense,” Logan said. “It’s a 3-2 (zone), but we just call it our 3.”

When opponents see the 5-11 Fraley, they are always thinking 3 — as in her ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc.

Fraley went 4-for-9 from long range Saturday, boosting her season total to 77 treys. Three of them came in the first half to account for nearly half of Boyd County’s scoring for a 21-15 lead.

She swished one from the top of the key early in the second quarter, then connected from the wing to make it 19-8 despite getting bumped on the shot and falling on her knee. In the fourth quarter, Fraley collided with a Fleming County player on the defensive end.

“She banged her knee on my shin,” Logan said. “I already had a bruise there, but it’s OK. Fleming’s a good team, and rough. I like playing them.”

Boyd County (25-8) pulled away by hitting seven consecutive floor shots and two free throws to begin the second half. Wheeler started the surge with a layup off Stewart’s steal. Reeves and Fraley capped it with 3-pointers for a 39-23 lead.

“Dad always tells us to come out strong the first three minutes of the second half,” Logan said. “We just came out and played our game. We made some mistakes, but it’s expected.”

The Lady Lions totaled 20 turnovers, but helped force 18 defensively to beat Fleming County for the second time this season.

“You know Fleming is going to play hard, be physical,” Pete Fraley said. “That’s their M.O. I thought our kids did a good job matching their intensity.”

Boyd County advanced to the regional semifinals for the fourth consecutive year and will meet Russell on Monday at 6 p.m.

Fraley has guided the Lady Lions to the finals the last three years and is coaching in the regional tournament for the 16th year — second only to John “Hop” Brown’s 23.

“This one had a different feel for me,” Fraley said. “We had so many days off (eight) since the district tournament.”

Wheeler produced 14 points and eight rebounds to go with her work on the defensive end. Stewart turned in another solid performance as the team’s primary ball handler with 11 points, three rebounds, two steals and only two turnovers.

“Emily takes care of the ball really well,” Logan Fraley said.

Fleming County closed the season at 19-11 after graduating its top six players from a year ago.

“It’s great, and I’m even more excited because we had two eighth-graders go 9-and-9 today,” Orem said.

Tori Ishmael and Journey Steward each scored nine points. They also combined for nine steals and eight rebounds.

ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at rstanley@dailyindependent.com.

 or (606) 326-2671.