Justin Stinson took a minute to look around Sunday afternoon as his team was accepting the championship trophy for the Touchstone Energy All “A” Classic Girls State Basketball Tournament at the Frankfort Convention Center.
Glasgow (18-6) beat Danville (13-5) 53-43 in the championship game for their fourth victory in five days and their first state championship in program history.
“There is no way to explain how this feels right now. I am so proud of these kids,” Stinson said. “They have worked so hard to get here and they’ve earned this title. There are so many people that never get the opportunity to be on this stage, and for our kids to come out victorious, it is just awesome.
“We know there is a lot of basketball season left, but we’re going to take some time to enjoy this.”
The Danville Lady Admirals overcome an 11-1 deficit early in the first period to tie the game at 32-32 with 6:56 to go in the game.
But that’s when Glasgow’s “Dynamic Duo” went to work. Shalika Smith, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, hit back-to-back baskets to make it 36-32, and after a bucket by Danville’s Essence Grey, Bree Glover hit one of two free throws to make it 37-34 with 5:01 to go.
Emily Alexander deflected a Danville pass and scored on the other end for the Lady Scotties. Shalika Smith scored again and with 3:45 to go, Glasgow held a 41-34 advantage.
“The game was kind of chopped us to be honest with you. We got the big lead early, but we got in foul trouble in the second quarter,” Stinson explained. “We were, however, still able to go into halftime with a lead. And that was huge for us to be able to maintain a little momentum.
“And then in the fourth quarter, we got out to a two-possession lead and things were going to work out for us. You know players (Glover, Smith) make plays. And great players aren’t always great, but they’re great when they need to be. And that’s what we were in the fourth quarter. You dance with who brought you to the dance.”
“We just wanted to run like crazy against them and not let them catch us. Those two big girls (Smith and Glover) are unreal. I told one of officials they ought to be illegal. We just couldn’t do anything about them,” said Danville coach Judie Mason. “But to be honest with you, their guards are what beat us. We weren’t’ able to turn them over like we were able to do everyone else. No. 14 (Elli Bartley) is a great player and she hit those two big 3s at the beginning of game. I thought they handled our pressure a lot better than some teams. But those two big girls are sweet. I would take one of them.”
Glasgow opened the game on fire. Bartley hit two straight 3-pointers to post the Lady Scotties to a 6-0 lead. Danville struggled against Glasgow’s pressure and when Glover converted a 3-point play, the Lady Scotties led 11-1 with 5:55 to go in the first period.
GHS held a 15-5 advantage at the end of the quarter, only to have Danville score the first eight points of the second period to close within two at 15-13. But the Lady Scotties got a jumper by Shalika Smith, two free throws by Alexander, and another charity toss by Smith to go up 20-13 with 4:56 to go in the half.
The Lady Admirals rallied and were able to cut into the Glasgow lead. Buckets by Laken Grey and NeNe Cheanault helped Danville cut away at Glasgow’s advantage and trail 22-20 at the intermission.
Shalika Smith had 22 points and 19 rebounds to lead Glasgow in the win. Glover had nine points, 13 boards, three assists, three blocks and one steal. Alexander chipped in with 13 points and four assists, while Bartley scored nine.
Essence Grey led Danville with 14 points in the loss.
“This is just amazing. I am so proud of my team,” Glover said. “I just knew we were going to do it. I just really wanted this win. This feels really good.”