GRAYSON East Carter coach Hager Easterling talked about “stinky basketball” with his team during Friday’s 59-38 win over rival West Carter.
“That’s what we are right now,” Easterling said. “We’re going to play really good for stretches and then we’re going to really stink for stretches. The good thing about it is, when we’re good, our good is really good.”
The good? The Lady Raiders hit their first four shots and forced six turnovers in the first few minutes of the first quarter. That stretch helped East race out to a 26-9 lead midway through the second quarter.
The bad? West Carter rotated zone defenses and the Lady Comets took advantage of poor shooting and turned the ball over only once in the second quarter.
“They played a similar defense like Greenup did against us earlier in the week and in the first half, all we did was stand in a spot and moved the ball until someone shot it,” Easterling said. “When we were attacking gaps off the dribble and moving the dribble and ourselves, we got great shots. (West Carter coach) Bart (Stevens) changed it up, playing 1-3-1, 3-2, 2-3 zones and it was good coaching because it kept us out of rhythm.”
Lady Comets senior Lexie Berry scored 10 of her game-high 18 points during a 13-0 run that bled into the second half to cut the deficit to 26-22.
“She’s a pretty tough matchup out there,” Stevens said. “She’s skilled enough to score and strong enough to post. We got the ball inside to her and she really kept us in the game. Had we not turned the ball over as much as we did in the second half, she could have had more.”
Easterling watched his team miss its last eight shots going into halftime.
“We were very stagnant when they were making their run,” Easterling said. “We went back to that standing, not attacking and getting in to the gaps.”
East Carter went back to what got the Lady Raiders their early lead by forcing turnovers and getting out in transition. West Carter had 13 miscues in the second half and 20 for the game.
“Their pressure is relentless,” Stevens said. “They don’t give you a chance to take a break and that showed in the second half.”
Sophomore point guard Kristen Mayo, who had only three points in the first half, erupted for 14 in the second half. Her backcourt teammate Haley Hall had 14 points. The duo helped their team end the third quarter on a 9-2 run to lead 41-28.
Both teams shot less than 40 percent in the game, with the Lady Raiders shooting 39.2 percent to West Carter’s 34.4 percent. East Carter did hit 10 of 21 3-point baskets.
As for the “stinky basketball,” Easterling hopes that is out of their system Saturday night when he brings his team to Summit to play Boyd County.
Lexie Berry, who is eight points away from 1,000 in her career, will make an attempt to eclipse the mark Monday at home against Morgan County.
WEST 7 13 8 10 — 38
EAST 17 9 15 18 — 59
West Carter (38) — L. Berry 18, M. Berry 6, B. Easterling 4, Adkins 3, Bear 3, Evans 2, Hanshaw 2. PF: 15. FT: 14-23. 3-point FGs: 2 (L. Berry, Bear). Technical Fouls: None.
East Carter (59) — Mayo 17, Hall 14, Stickler 9, Pennington 8, Damron 8, Stumbo 2, Brainard 1. PF: 20. FT 9-15. 3-point FGs: 10-21 (Mayo 4, Damron 2, Hall 2, Stickler, Pennington). Technical Fouls: None.