It isn’t just “coach speak” when Justin Stinson talks about the driving force behind his Glasgow Lady Scotties being a team concept. Glasgow’s big guns Shalika Smith and Bree Glover are forces to be reckoned with every time they step on the floor. But throughout the season, Stinson has gotten big time contributions from his bench.
That happened again Monday night as Kaylyn Hale and Ashley Smith played significant roles to help the Lady Scotties (26-6) knock off Monroe County (18-11) 60-56 in the first round of the District 15 Girls Basketball Tournament at Glasgow High School.
“Well, this is a team game Bree and Shalika are wonderful players and they get a lot of recognition, and deservedly so. But you are so proud when some of your roles players step up like they did tonight,” Stinson said. “Take Ashley Smith, who made big plays down the stretch. Then, Kalyn Hale makes a big 3 down in the corner and then gets her hands on some balls down on the defensive end.”
The game went back and forth through all 32 minutes as every time Glasgow would extend its lead to double-digits, Monroe County would make a run to bring the Lady Scotties back in striking distance.
Free throws by Kayla Murray and Kelsey Johnson cut the Glasgow lead to 38-33 with 3:49 to go in the third period. Sarah Wilson followed with back-to-back buckets and the Lady Falcons were quickly within one at 38-37. Glover answered for Glasgow with jumpers in the lane to make it 42-37, but Reagan Turner responded with a 3 and Monroe was within two at 42-40.
Hale calmed the storm for Glasgow on the next trip down the floor as she hit a trey of her own from deep in the corner to make it 45-40 and Glasgow took a 45-42 advantage into the final period.
“We felt our defense was really, really good,” Stinson explained. “Monroe County is a talented offensive team, one of the best offensive teams in the region. We were not gambling as much on defense tonight. I think we’re getting in that stance a lot better, and I thought our defense was tremendous.”
Elli Bartley hit a 3-pointer for Glasgow to open the fourth period, but Lauren Turner answered for Monroe County. Emily Alexander came back for the Lady Scotties with a basket from beyond the arc and GHS had a 51-45 lead with 6:20 to go in the game. Back-to-back transition baskets by Ashley Smith put the Lady Scotties up 57-47 with 2:29 to go in the game.
But Monroe County came roaring back. Lauren Turner followed that with a 3-pointer and Kayla Murray scored the next six points for the Lady Falcons to make it 57-56 with 27 seconds to play. Monroe County fouled Ashley Smith and she hit one of two free throws to make it 58-56 with 18 seconds to go. The Lady Falcons called timeout to set up the final play, but Ashley Smith came up big with a steal on the inbounds play. She hit both free throws to seal the 60-56 victory.
“We worked on that, maybe, Sunday. We went side out, and we’re down one or down two. What do we want to do defensively in that situation?” Stinson said. “I thought we executed it great. We actually had one kid that got picked, Hydeia Depp, and Kayla Murray flashed open underneath the basket for a brief moment. But Hydeia recovered very quickly. Those are the small plays that no one notices that are so important.”
Glover led Glasgow in scoring with 19 points. She had seven rebounds, one assist, one block and two steals. Shalika Smith had `13 points and 14 rebounds. Ashley Smith and Alexander added nine points each. Hale scored five points, Bartley had three and Depp scored two.
Murray and Reagan Turner scored 15 points each to lead Monroe County on the night. Lauren Turner added 12 points, while Wilson had six and Kelsey Kirkpatrick scored four. Kelliemae Polston and Johnson scored two points each.
Glasgow will face Allen County-Scottsville on Thursday in the district final. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ACS star Morgan Rich, who is injured, was in uniform Monday night and may play in Thursday’s final.
“There are still a lot of weapons on the Allen County team, with or without Rich,” Stinson said. “And they had Rich in uniform tonight, so they haven’t ruled her out playing on Thursday.With or without Morgan Rich, it is not going to change our preparation. We’ve got to rebound the basketball. They do that really well.”