The Lady Cougars got themselves back on the winning track Friday evening at Hopkins County Central High School as they earned a blowout, 65-30 win over the Lady Rockets of Crittenden County in the opening round of the Lady Storm/UMW Invitational.
Grayson County (3-5) took much better care of the ball than they had in the last few games, finishing the game with just 11 turnovers, and just five in the second half. The Lady Rockets (2-7) were only able to get two points throughout the game off of Grayson County turnovers.
On a day when head coach Brad Johnson tinkered with his starting lineup, starting senior Katie Beeler, eighth-grader Grace White and sophomore Sloane Embry, 11 different Lady Cougars cracked the scoring column. In addition, 12 different Lady Cougars grabbed at least one rebound, and 11 picked up at least one steal.
The Lady Cougars never trailed in the game, though it was tied once at 2-2 early in the first period. Kaylan Shull hit a pair of free throws at the 5:26 mark to break the tie and give the Lady Cougars a lead they would never relinquish.
A three-point play by Crittenden’s Chelsea Oliver brought the Lady Rockets to within a point of the lead, 6-5 with 4:12 left in the first quarter, but they would never be that close again. Oliver, just a sophomore, finished as the game’s high-scorer with 17 points.
The Lady Cougars answered with seven straight, including threes from Shull and senior Taylor Higdon to increase the Grayson County lead to nine points, 14-5 with 1:01 left.
Crittenden’s Maggie Collins closed out the first quarter scoring with a shot from just inside the arc and the Lady Cougars led by seven, 14-7 heading into the second period.
Grayson County then opened the second quarter with nine unanswered points, capped off by freshman Jodi Decker’s three-point play, and with 5:30 left in the first half the Lady Cougars led by 16 points, 23-7.
Collins hit a 15-footer for the Lady Rockets that cut the lead to 14 points, 26-12 at the 3:55 mark, but Grayson County responded with another 9-0 run that pushed the lead to 23 points, 35-12 with 1:17 left in the half.
Oliver stopped the run with a three-point play with 1:04 remaining to make it a 20-point Lady Cougar advantage, but White scored on a rebound basket with 49 seconds left, and freshman Sarah Pierce closed out the first-half scoring with a put-back basket with 17 seconds left and the Lady Cougars led by 24 points, 39-15 at the break.
Junior Katie Hayes buried a three-pointer with 1:53 left in the third quarter to give the Lady Cougars a 29-point lead, 53-24, and they held that advantage as the fourth quarter began, 55-26.
Embry scored the final four points of the game to make the final margin of victory 35 points.
Shull led the Lady Cougars in scoring with 12 points and she also led the team on the boards with eight rebounds. Two players, Fulkerson and White, each scored nine points, and White added four rebounds, while Fulkerson led the team in steals with three.
Embry and Maddie Stewart both finished with eight points. Stewart led the team with five assists and added five rebounds as well.
Hayes scored five points, while Decker scored four. Two players, Higdon and Cassidy Swift both finished with three points, while Pierce and Jessica Johnson both had two to round out the Lady Cougar scoring.
The win put the Lady Cougars into the second round of the winners’ bracket on Saturday, where they were slated to play the winner of the game between the host Lady Storm, and the Lady Panthers of Daviess County. Be sure to check out the results in the next edition of the News-Gazette.