Above: The Lady Lions pose wtih their District trophy after their win over Ashland.
SUMMIT Pete Fraley’s 12th district championship as Boyd County’s girls basketball coach may go down as the wildest and most exhausting.
Despite a valiant effort from undermanned and foul-plagued rival Ashland, the Lady Lions dug out of a nine-point hole in the fourth quarter and ultimately prevailed 65-59 in double overtime Wednesday night at Boyd County Middle School.
“What a game,” Fraley said. “All night it was just different things. We held tight and were fortunate to get out of here with a win.”‘
Boyd County outscored the depleted Kittens 7-1 in the second extra period to secure its fourth 64th District title in five years.
“It’s good to go out with a win,” said Lady Lions senior Payton Shears, one of two twins playing their final home game. “I can’t remember another (Boyd County) game that went two overtimes.”
Toward the end, Ashland star point guard Mykasa Robinson was the only member of her team’s regular rotation still on the floor.
Sophomore guard Julia Parker, one of the state’s top 3-point shooters, dressed for the contest but sat out with a wrist injury. Senior A.J. Johnson was also sidelined due to a back problem.
Adding to Ashland’s injury situation, starting forward Miranda Martin hurt her knee early in the second quarter and did not return.
The Kittens also started piling up fouls, leading to the exits of Mikayla Martin, Sarah Rymer, Morgan Bradley and Emma Fulton down the stretch. Boyd County took advantage, making 27 of 40 free throws to offset Ashland’s 21-16 advantage in field goals.
Given Ashland’s predicament, Robinson often had to carry the load for the Kittens and finished with 29 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists, four steals and three blocked shots.
“They were short-handed,” Fraley said. “I told our kids before the game, whether Parker plays or not, Ashland is going to be like an animal backed in the corner. They came out and gave us their best shot.”
Ashland, 25-5 after having a 13-game winning streak snapped, shrugged off adversity and led 40-31 with 5:13 to go in regulation after Robinson sank two free throws.
Boyd County responded with two Harley Paynter free throws and then went on a defensive flurry that created backcourt turnovers and got the Lady Lions back in the game.
Charity Shears converted a three-point play following one of the steals. She also banked in a 3-pointer to pull Boyd County even at 53.
“I honestly didn’t think it was going in,” Charity said with a smile. “We got a lot off energy in that run.”
Ashland fought back, thanks in large part to sophomore Jada Miller. She came off the bench to splash three triples in the fourth period, the last one giving the Kittens a 51-49 edge.
“Those 3s from Jada were monsters,” Ashland coach Bill Bradley said. “We had a lot of girls step up and I think our defense was outstanding overall.”
However, Boyd County’s Emma Borders countered by banking in a 3-ball with 1:01 left.
“I don’t think they called bank on those 3s,” Bradley said. “You have to ask Pete. But that happens.”
Robinson made one of two free throws with 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter to get the Kittens to overtime. She scored all six of the Kittens’ points in the first OT.
“We lost so many guards and put it all on Mykasa,” Bradley said. “She handled it well and got a little tired in that second overtime.”
Boyd County junior standout Savannah Wheeler scored a team-high 24 points and called it the “toughest” of her four district titles since the seventh grade.
“I’m happy,” Wheeler said. “It was a physical game with a lot of fouling both ways.”
Charity Shears and Paynter each scored 11 points for the Lady Lions, who improved to 24-4 and remained unbeaten against 16th Region opponents. Graci Borders grabbed 11 rebounds.
Rymer had nine points and 10 rebounds for Ashland.
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