Justin Stinson doesn’t worry too much when Elli Bartley puts up a shot from behind the arc. The Glasgow High School coach knows his freshman sharpshooter has the ability to hit the 3-pointer from almost anywhere on the court. That’s why Bartley has the green light when she gets the ball.
Bartley answered the call early in the fourth period with back-to-back treys to help the Lady Scotties (28-6) knock off South Warren 64-56 Saturday in the semifinals of the Fourth Region Girls Basketball Tournament at Allen County-Scottsville High School.
“I felt really good about Elli’s shot. She shoots 47 percent from 3-point for the year so we have no hesitation about her making shots,” Stinson said. “We’ve talked to her about it. She doesn’t always get a lot of looks, but she been very efficient for us all year long. We’ve got no problem with her taking shots with the game on the line.”
The win moves Glasgow into Sunday’s championship game against Bowling Green. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. The Lady Purples knocked off Franklin-Simpson in Saturday’s other semifinals.
“Bartley is a tough little player, I am telling you. She has a knack for hitting big shots. They did a nice job of moving her around, getting her in some different positions,” said South Warren coach Blane Embry. “Our wings on our 1-3-1 zone lost her a couple of times. And that’s what happened. We tried to move some things around and we had some people playing in positions they’re not used to.
“We put her (Bartley) number up on the board before the game, with a star by it, and said this is the one that’s going to make a big shot. We told the girls to get ready and find her when they need a big bucket. She got away from us and made some big shots. It is that type of mentality, you can’t teach it. It is just something you develop over a period of time and she’s got that ‘it’ factor.”
South Warren (23-9) had battled back to within four and trailed the Lady Scotties 46-42 as the fourth period began. Shalika Smith opened the quarter with one of two free throws. Bartley hit a 3-pointer for the Lady Scotties to make it 50-42. After South Warren’s Timitryi Patterson scored a layup, Bartley nailed another 3-pointer to make it 53-44 with 5:10 to go in the game.
The Lady Spartans were able to cut it to six at 55-49 on two free throws by Colby Downing at the 2:26 mark. But Ashley Smith, Emily Alexander and Shalika Smith made five of six straight free throws to push the Glasgow lead to 60-49 with 1:49 on the clock.
“That’s what scared me so much about South Warren,” Stinson relayed. “Anytime you take a lot of 3s, you can get hot and they did. Fortunately for us, we made a few shots and rebounded well enough, and made some free throws down the stretch.”
Breanna Glover led Glasgow with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Bartley had 16 points, hitting five 3-pointers for the game. Shalika Smith scored 13 points and Alexander scored 10. Ashley Smith had two points.
Downing led South Warren with 22 points for the game.
Glasgow gained a lot of momentum early in the second period. After the Lady Spartans had pulled within three at 20-17, the Lady Scotties’ defense stepped up big time and held South Warren scoreless for almost three minutes. Glasgow topped the defensive effort with a 6-0 run, with four points from Glover and two points from Shalika Smith, to take a 26-17 lead with 3:14 to go in the first half.
“I have felt like we’ve been a good defensive team all year and I don’t think you win championships without being a good defensive team,” Stinson explained. “That’s something we’ve tried to hang our hat on and get in a defensive mentality. We call it a championship mentality. And that means we want to stop you from scoring more than we want to score.
“We’re playing on Sunday and that’s an incredible position to be in. For kids like Emily, Shalika and Ashley, and our seniors, it has been an incredible run. They’ve won something like 85 games, a regional title, two district titles, an All A state title. It has been very impressive for them. And for them to be able to play on Sunday, with a chance to win another regional title, that’s pretty special.”