OLIVE HILL Things could not have started any better for Raceland Wednesday night when the Rams met Elliott County in the semifinals of the 16th Region All “A” Classic.
On the Lions’ side, things could not have been much worse.
Elliott County missed its first six field goals and trailed Raceland 7-2. The Lions first field goal did not fly through the twine until 1:36 to play in the frame but when it did, the tides instantly turned.
Elliott County orchestrated a 28-5 run in the first half and cruised to a 57-35 win over the Rams at John “Hop” Brown Court.
“That run was huge and the girls really settled in,” Elliott County coach Roy Whitt said. “That’s big especially in a tournament like this where there’s emotion. Once we got through that, we had the rest of the game to play and tonight, they did that. Katie Adkins played an outstanding game on both sides of the ball.”
Adkins finished with a game-high 18 points for the Lions and her first triple of the night ignited the Elliott County offense, who connected on seven of 15 trifectas. The Rams’ shooting for long range, however, was anything but forgettable, hitting only one triple in 14 tries.
“I really felt the big difference in us tonight was just not making shots,” Raceland coach Ron Keeton said. “We got every look we wanted and we ran every set we wanted to get the looks we wanted, we just couldn’t knock down any shots and when you do that, you put a lot of pressure on your defense. We played as hard as we could, we just couldn’t make a shot.”
Raceland shot 25.5 percent from the field and had only one player finish in double digits. Nim Maynard led the Rams with 12.
After the shaky start for the Lions constituted by not playing a game since Dec. 29, the Lions found their rhythm and finished with three players in double figures.
“We haven’t played in a long time because of cancellations,” Whitt said. “When the shots don’t go in some may think, oh no. But not this group of girls. I have a group here that really knows how to win and once the first couple went in, I started feeling better. Tonight, it was just a great team effort.”
Molly Howard and Rylee Sturgill each had 14 for the Lions.
After a 9-9 tie through one frame, Elliott County limited Raceland to only three points in the second stanza on a freebie from Lexi Boggs and an Emma Picklesimer bucket midway through the frame. For Elliott County, the second quarter was their highest scoring frame of the contest, providing a 30-12 lead at the break.
Picklesimer had nine points and a game-high 14 rebounds in the losing effort.
Elliott County will meet West Carter for the 16th Region All “A” Championship Friday night.
RACELAND 9 3 14 9 — 35
ELLIOTT CO. 9 21 12 15 — 57
Raceland (35 )—Lacks 2, Boggs 1, Picklesimer 9, Maynard 12, Hapney, Broughton 8, Mackie 3, Gartin. 3-Pt. FG 1-14: (Maynard). FT: 8-11. Fouls: 16.
Elliott Co. (57)—Howard 14, Whitt 8, R. Sturgill 14, Adkins 18, Ison 3, N. Sturgill, Hamilton. 3-Pt. FG: 7-15 (Adkins 3, Howard 2, Whitt 2). FT: 18-26. Fouls: 13.