Justin Stinson smiled when he was asked if his Glasgow High School Lady Scotties played a perfect half of basketball against Bowling Green Sunday in the finals of the Fourth Region Girls Basketball Tournament at Allen County-Scottsville High School.
The Lady Scotties rushed out to a 16-8 lead in the first quarter and then delivered a knock punch in the second period to lead 49-18 at the half on their way to what was a surprisingly easy 79-59 victory over the Lady Purples.
“You might be right (the first half was about as perfect as we could have asked for). We played very well,” Stinson said. “We knew they were going to bring two players to the ball all the time and we just wanted to make sure we had good ball reversal. The kids made some big shots (in the first half) and all the credit goes to the kids.
“It is very sweet to be going back to the state tournament. The kids have worked hard for this and come to work every day. The kids battled and battled tonight. Bowling Green has a great team and they made a nice run there in the second half, but I thought we made enough plays down the stretch and showed a little bit of poise after we panicked in the third quarter.”
With the win, the Lady Scotties earn their second state tournament appearance in the last three years. Glasgow will open play against Lexington Lafayette on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. at E.A. Diddle Arena on the campus of Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green.
BGHS opened the second half with a full-court press that seemed to give the Lady Scotties fits. The Lady Purples reaped the benefits of the pressure and scored the first six points of the period and, after a bucket by Ashley Smith, followed up with the next four points to cut the Glasgow lead to 51-28 with 6:01 to go in quarter.
The two teams exchanged baskets for the next couple of minutes before Bowling Green got seven straight points on buckets by Keely Vincent, Oneisha Turner and Gabrielle Pruitt to make it 55-37 with 3:15 on the clock.
“Breanna (Glover) handles the pressure so well and we had (Elli) Bartley out there handling the pressure, too when Bowling Green made its run,” Stinson said. “And the kid I thought was so terrific in the second half was Ashley Smith. She was terrific handling the ball for us. It is difficult to handle that kind of pressure for 32 minutes and it wears on you.”
Glasgow led 61-42 at the end of the third period and maintained the comfortable lead throughout the final eight minutes as they earned the 20-point victory.
“I am so excited,” Ashley Smith explained. “Winning the region and going to the state has always been one of our goals. As a senior, I am especially happy we get to do this with our team. Whenever we get out of control, I try to tell everyone we just need to calm down and we can get through it. They just need reassurance. It is no pressure on me, I will take on whatever role I need to for us to get a win.”
“This feels really great,” Emily Alexander explained. “We’ve got some really good bench play and coach Stinson instills in us to play tough defense, sit down and guard somebody. He tells us if we do what we do well, everything should work out.”
Breanna Glover led Glasgow in scoring with 34 points and 16 rebounds. Shalika Smith had 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Alexander scored 17. Ashley Smith and Bartley tallied four points each.
Turner was high scorer for the Lady Purples with 32 points.
Now the Lady Scotties will turn their focus on the Sweet 16.
“We just want to continue to do what got us here,” Stinson said. “We don’t want to try and reinvent the wheel. You don’t want to get to the state tournament and change a lot of things. We need to continue to guard people, to rebound the basketball and make good decisions. If we do those things, I like our chances.”