Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

February 26, 2012

Girls 16th Region Tournament: Can anyone cool Kittens?

MOREHEAD — Fleming County girls coach Kristy Orem isn’t crazy about drawing defending champion Boyd County in the opening round of the 16th Region Tournament.

Then again, Orem put it this way Saturday morning after the tournament bracket took shape at Morehead State University.

“I think it’s all right,” Orem said. “We’ll take it. To be honest, everybody wants to be on the opposite side of Ashland.”

No arguments there. The Top 20-rated Kittens are perfect — 19-0 — inside the 16th Region this season.

Ashland, 26-5 overall, will host Raceland in one of four regional quarterfinal games Monday night at the home of district champs. The tournament moves to MSU for Thursday’s semifinals.

Ashland, both talented and deep, entered the season with high expectations and coach Bill Bradley continues to be pleased about the team’s willingness to share the ball and accept roles.

Last Thursday, the Kittens blitzed 20-game winner Boyd County 70-41 in the 64th District finals.

“It think it really culminated in the game with Boyd County the other night,” Bradley said of a performance in which Ashland shot 55 percent and used a 25-4 run in the third quarter to break it open.

At the same time, Bradley warned that any of several teams in the regional field are capable of quickly ending Ashland’s season.

“We’ve been geared up every single game,” he said. “The girls know what can happen if we don’t come out of the gate with the right frame of mind.”

Rowan County coach Scott Tackett likened the Kittens to a dominant 16th Region team from three years ago that wore green.

“This is probably the best compliment I can give Ashland,” Tackett said. “They remind me of our 2008-09 bunch with Jennifer Brockman, Katie Martin and Amber Riddle. The starting lineup was strong and we had a good bench.”

The Lady Vikings reeled off 16 wins to start that season and beat all three regional tournament opponents by at least 19 points. The title came in a three-year run at the top for Rowan County.   

“Ashland hasn’t shown any chinks in the armor so far, and they may not,” said Tackett, whose Lady Vikings lost to Ashland 76-51 earlier this month.

Rowan’s first-round opponent, Morgan County, knocked off East Carter for the 62nd District title.

“Morgan has three kids that can score the ball,” Tackett said of Brittany Stamper, Faith Slone and Cheyenna Ferguson.

He calls Stamper the most underrated player in the region.

“She’s a 5-11 kid that can handle the ball and get to the rim,” Tackett said. “She also has a nice mid-range game, plus the ability to knock down a three.”

Rowan County (24-6) defeated Fleming County twice this season but fell to the Panthers 53-49 in the 61st District finals.

All three games followed the same pattern.

“The first one, we were up 20 and then cut it to five,” Tackett said. “The second game, we were ahead 23 and ended up winning by six.”

In the district tournament, Fleming County overcame a 21-3 deficit after one quarter.

“The thing about those kids, they are fearless,” Tackett said. “We were still up four with 2 1/2 minutes to go. Robbie Allex made a three-pointer in transition. A little later, Morgan Jett hit a step-back three from the corner to put them ahead.”

Fleming County (26-5) is tied with Ashland for most wins entering the regional tournament.

“I’m proud of the kids,” Orem said. “We don’t usually start games well, but we’ve been a second-half team.”

The Panthers overcame one of those poor starts to win 58-51 at Boyd County in mid-January.

“They just keep playing,” Boyd County coach Pete Fraley said Saturday. “That’s the mark of a good team.”

Orem kidded Fraley at the draw meeting about having to make the trip to Flemingsburg.

“We knew we were going to get on the bus Monday and go somewhere,” Fraley said. “I don’t particularly like the bus ride to Fleming County.”

The Lady Lions are hoping for a repeat of 2010, when they made the same trip and came home with a first-round victory.

Lewis County (19-11) will host East Carter in the opening round after making a district championship breakthrough by defeating Greenup County and Raceland for the 63rd crown.

“Greenup County is solid and Raceland won 20 games, so we feel really good about that,” Lewis County coach Jay Fite said. “We are looking forward to thematchup with East Carter. Hager (Easterling) does a good job with their program and we know defensively they will get after you.”

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

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • Proposed plan a touchdown for Ashland, Central

    They’ll have to wait another year, but some major changes are on the horizon.
     

    April 15, 2014

  • Martin, Cannoy put pop on top of Boyd 12-2 win

    Boyd County’s softball bats are booming of late.

    April 14, 2014

  • Stock spiking for Raceland softball

    Raceland took a major step in trying to shift the balance of power in 63rd District softball.

    April 14, 2014

  • 0415eastSB0110.jpg Still chasing the Kittens

    East Carter entered Monday’s softball showdown with Ashland looking to show it’s a credible threat to the Kittens’ recent domination of the 16th Region.

    April 14, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local Sports in Brief: Bush, Porter Wendy's Heisman finalists

    Rose Hill Christian seniors David Bush and Myriah Porter have been named state finalists for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award.

    April 14, 2014

  • Paintsville tops Magoffin, 12-0

    Kash Daniel and Spencer Taylor combined to toss a one-hitter as Paintsville pounded Magoffin County, 12-0, on Monday night in the first of a two-game series between 57th District foes.

    April 14, 2014

  • AARON SNYDER: Kittens on prowl for SS

    The Monday Morning Shortstop didn't have to dodge any actual darts at Ashland Softball Complex, although there may be an enlarged picture of him riddled with holes somewhere close by.
    If the piercing looks thrown my way weren't enough to sway me, the Kittens did more than enough on the field the past two weeks to distance themselves from a No. 5 ranking in northeastern Kentucky.

    April 13, 2014

  • 0414bcclassic0539.jpg Raceland girls, Boyd boys win track Classic

    As Boyd County first-year track and field coach Chris Holbrook stood on the infield and watched a member of Raceland’s 4-by-400-meter relay team circle the track in the final girls’ event of Saturday’s Boyd County Classic, he commented aloud to no one in particular, “She’s not showing any signs of running out of gas.”
    The Lady Rams had just enough in the tank to fend off the Lady Lions’ late charge and lock down their third victory of the young season, edging host Boyd County by six points, 171-165.
    On the boys’ side, Boyd County cruised, beating second-place Rowan County 175-114. A Lions club that finished 10th in last spring’s Class 2A, Region 6 meet has won all three meets it’s participated in this season.

    April 13, 2014 4 Photos

  • Starns, Steward stellar in '13-14

    After compiling a 40-2 record against 16th Region opponents over the last two seasons, Fleming County left the rest of the area thoroughly convinced of its prowess on the basketball court.

    April 13, 2014

  • Thunder on a sunny day

    Greenup County did its best to pitch to Ashland slugger McKenzie Vanover in her first three trips to the plate Saturday afternoon.
    It didn’t work out so well.

    April 13, 2014