By SCOTT WILSON
Glasgow Daily Times
Defense is the cornerstone of any Justin Stinson basketball team. And Wednesday night, in the semifinals of the All “A” Classic Region 4 Basketball Tournament at Todd County Central High School, the Glasgow Lady Scotties proved defense wins games as they clamped down on the Monroe County Lady Falcons for a 57-48 victory.
“We did guard the ball much better in the second half. We didn’t really change anything at halftime, we just emphasized some things,” Stinson said. “It is all about staying in a stance for us. We’re athletic, we’re a good defensive team but sometimes when you get a little fatigued you have a tendency to stand up. You don’t move as well and you allow penetration.
“And for a team like Monroe County, they drive it well and they love to drive it and kick it for a 3. So we felt like if we can just contain their dribble; we’re not trying to pressure them at halfcourt, we’re not trying to take it away from them, we’re just trying to contain their dribble and let our length and our athleticism be a factor.”
The two teams battled back and forth through the first two periods. Behind the inside presence of Shalika Smith and the driving ability of Bre Glover, the Lady Scotties took the early lead and led 16-9 at the end of first period.
Monroe County answered in the second quarter, getting more offensive production from Lauren Turner and Kelsey Kirkpatrick, and outscored Glasgow 15-13 in the period to cut the Lady Scotties’ lead to 29-24 at the intermission.
Glasgow picked up the pressure in the third period, limiting the Lady Falcons to one shot on most trips down the floor. The Lady Scotties got buckets from Shalika Smith , Glover and Emily Alexander to push their advantage to 14, 46-32, after three periods.
Monroe County tried to rally, cutting the Glasgow lead to as low as nine in the third period. But Shalika Smith scored down low, Elli Bartley followed with a 3-pointer and Alexander capped the run with a trey of her own to push the Glasgow lead back out to double-digits late in the fourth period.
“Emily Alexander is a difference maker. She’s a big time difference maker, a big time player on both ends of the floor,” Stinson said. “I know Shalika gets a lot of publicity and I know Bre gets a lot of publicity, and they should because they’re really good players. But so is Emily.
“That third scorer is so important in high school basketball, but Emily does so much more than just score. Emily has been a rock for us, a good player for us for four years and she was big again tonight. She just wants to win and that’s what you want on your team.”
Glover led Glasgow with 17 points and Shalika Smith had 16. Alexander chipped in with 13 points, while Bartley had six, Kaylyn Hale had three and Ashley Smith scored two.
Lauren Turner led Monroe County with 19 points. Ashlee McGeorge scored 13 and Kirkpatrick tallied seven. Reagan Turner had five points and Kelsey Johnson scored four. Kayla Murray, one of the Lady Falcons’ top scorers, was held scoreless on the night.
Monroe County coach Dwayne Murray declined to comment after the game.
“We put our best defenders on Kayla Murray. Hydeia Depp guarded Murray for most of the night and Ashley Smith guarded her some. We didn’t do anything special. We know she can shoot the basketball and we wanted to crowd her and not let her get any clean looks off,” Stinson said. “But I don’t think they’re a one man team. Monroe County is a very good team. I thought Elli did a good job of keeping Reagan Turner in check and I thought overall our team defense was good.”
Glasgow will play Cumberland County in Friday’s championship game. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.
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