MOREHEAD It has been quite a week for Rowan County’s Haven Ford.

Ford announced on Friday on social media that she had received her first Division I offer from Marshall University.

Four days later, she helped lead her Lady Vikings to a 69-53 win over Ashland in the opening round of the 16th Region Tournament.

The freshman posted a game-high 24 points and hauled in 17 rebounds in the game. She also recorded four assists and three steals as Rowan County advanced to the region semifinals for the first time since 2016.

“Haven is just unbelievable. … She just went crazy tonight and we couldn’t do anything with her,” Ashland coach Bill Bradley said. “She dominated.”

Beyond Ford, the Lady Vikings received big performances from several other members of the squad.

Sophomore Hailey Rose drew a tough defensive assignment in the region’s KABC Player of the Year in Julia Parker, but held her ground.

“We asked a lot out of Hailey Rose tonight,” Rowan County coach Matt Stokes said. "We said, ‘You’re going to guard the best player in the region, you’ve got the Player of the Year in our region, and you’re going to have to play defense.'

“She held her to seven points, and I’m amazed by that and Hailey worked her tail off to keep her to that seven.”

The Kittens did not hit a 3-pointer until the 7:20 mark of the fourth quarter when Casey Wallenfelsz broke the ice.

Rowan County registered just one triple on the night, but held a 40-24 edge in points in the paint.

It was a tightly contested game at the break with the Lady Vikings leading 30-23.

Rowan County pulled away in the third quarter, opening up its largest lead of 17 at the 2:45 mark.

Ashland had to play much of the second half without Mikayla Martin, who was injured late in the second quarter.

Martin finished with a team-high 18 points and 10 rebounds.

“Martin had 18 points, and she was unbelievable in that first half … but that’s the way we wanted to play,” Stokes said. “We wanted her to get the points.

“If you take those shots away from her and give them to Parker, she’s liable to have 30 tonight. That’s what we were going to try to live and die by is her scoring and not Parker, and the girls executed really well.”

Stokes also highlighted the play of senior guard Brooke Blevins.

“The second half was probably the best half that Brooke has had,” Stokes said. “She played great defense, she ran our offense, and she was hitting girls in stride for easy layups.”

Bradley praised Blevins’s efforts as well.

“Blevins did a really good job on Carley (Cullop),” Bradley said. “I thought we got a little shaky at first, but once we settled down, I thought our inside game did a really good job.

"Mikayla Martin and Sydney (Sorrell) did a lot of scoring inside, but we’ve got to have some 3s along the way and they just did a really good job on us.”

Ashland (20-11) cut the deficit to eight points with 6:13 left in the game after three consecutive 3s, but the Lady Vikings were ultimately too much.

Rowan County (22-10) advances to Friday night’s semifinal.

ROWAN CO.    FG    FT    REB    TP

Rogers    5-14    0-0    5    10

Ricer    2-4    0-0    3    4

Rose    6-8    0-0    2    13

Blevins    6-11    2-2    4    14

Ford    5-15    14-15    17    24

Lewis    0-1    0-0    0    0

Utterback    1-2    0-0    1    2

Melton    1-2    0-0    0    2

TOTALS    26-57    16-17    40    69

FG Pct.: 45.6. FT Pct.: 94.1. 3-point FGs: 1-9 (Rose 1-2, Utterback 0-1, Ford 0-3, Blevins 0-3). PF: 13. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 10.

ASHLAND    FG    FT    REB    TP

Miller    0-2    0-0    1    0

Bradley    2-9    0-0    3    4

Cullop    2-7    4-4    5    9

Parker    3-12    0-0    1    7

Martin    7-11    4-6    10    18

Sorrell    3-5    1-4    7    7

C. Wallenfelsz    2-6    2-2    1    8

TOTALS    19-52    11-16    28    53

FG Pct.: 36.5. FT Pct.: 68.7. 3-point FGs: 4-17 (C. Wallenfelsz 2-4, Cullop 1-4, Parker 1-5, Miller 0-2, Bradley 0-2) PF: 18. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 14.

ROWAN CO.    14    16    18    21    —    69

ASHLAND    13    10    10    20    —    53

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