By MATT FULTZ
Before the Boyd County Lady Lions’ second game of the season tipped off Thursday night against Russell, coach Pete Fraley talked to his team about the importance of getting every loose ball.
The Lady Lions must have listened. Not only did they get most of the 50-50 balls, but also pulled down nearly got every rebound, especially in the first half.
In the first 16 minutes, the Lady Lions built a 38-7 advantage on the boards. The results also carried over to the scoreboard, where Boyd County held a 42-20 lead at the intermission.
While the Red Devils would do a better job of rebounding in the second half, the results on the scoreboard remained the same as the Lady Lions improved to 2-0 with a 75-43 victory at Boyd County Middle School.
“We talked before the game about how we wanted to get every 50-50 ball,” Fraley said. “They were ours tonight and they went after them hard. They sure didn’t leave anything in the locker room.”
Russell coach Mandy Layne also had a talk with her team about rebounding in the locker room, although hers had a different tone and came after the game.
“That is a problem we just addressed (in the locker room),” she said. “We just didn’t box out and when they did get an offensive rebound we didn’t contest the next shot. It is something we are definitely getting ready to work on.”
Boyd County’s dominance on the backboards did not come in the traditional source. It wasn’t a forward or center but the point guard. Senior Emily Stewart hauled in 12 rebounds, most of which turned into points, courtesy of one of her eight assists.
“She is probably one of our better rebounders,” Fraley said. “She almost had a double-double in rebounds and assists, and that really got us going.”
Many of Stewart’s first-half assists went to Logan Fraley, who was red hot from behind the 3-point line, sinking five of seven triple tries in the first half. Fraley led all scorers with 21.
The junior didn’t score in the second half, but there was no need for her to do so as Taylor Wheeler and Morgan Kenser picked up the scoring load. The two combined to score all 17 of the Lady Lions’ points in the third quarter.
Wheeler finished with 17 points and six rebounds, while Kenser added 13 points and seven boards.
Hope Parsley led Russell with 20 points while no other Lady Devil scored more than five.
While Layne was not pleased with her team’s effort, especially on the defensive end, she realizes it was her team’s first game of what is a long season.
“This does not define us or make our season,” she said. “We have two new starters. We play again on Saturday, so know we just have to work and get better.”