Glasgow knocks off defending region champion Russell County, 44-41
When Glasgow and defending Region Four champion Russell County last met on the hardwood on Dec. 8, the Lady Lakers dominated both sides of the ball in a 64-44 victory at Russell Springs.
Glasgow coach Justin Stinson and Russell County head coach Craig Pippen would both be quick to say that two-and-a-half months can make a major difference in a basketball season.
Junior Amanda Lee recorded a double-double with a game-high 16 points and 11 rebounds, senior Kaylyn Hale knocked down several clutch 3-pointers to finish with 15 points, and Glasgow avenged that earlier loss to the Lady Lakers by hanging on for a 44-41 victory over Russell County in the first round of the Fourth Region Tournament at E.A. Diddle Arena on Tuesday night.
“We kind of resembled a middle school team back in December because we were so young,” Stinson said. “But we grew up a lot, and our kids began to believe in each other and trust in each other. We thought it was a big step for our program and our team to get here, but to get to get here and beat the defending region champion was huge for us.”
Russell County’s quest to defend its region title came to an end on Tuesday night as the Lady Lakers finished with a record of 24-7.
“I told the girls that it only takes one night,” Pippen said. “We weren’t at our best (Tuesday night). Hats off to Glasgow; they earned it. They outplayed us, and we’re not going to deny it, we’re not going to hide from it…we’re going to learn from it.”
Glasgow’s youth counteracted Russell County’s experience for most of the game, but the discrepancy in age showed some in the final minute of the game.
The Lady Scotties (22-9) led 41-34 after Lee made two free throws in a one-and-bonus situation with 51.1 seconds left, but the Lady Lakers were far from finished.
Russell County was able to make it a one-possession game again after Addison Loy was fouled on a 3-pointer and she made 2-of-3 at the charity stripe to whittle the deficit down to 41-38 with 22.2 seconds left.
Glasgow responded with one free throw to push the lead back to four before Amelia Ackerman pulled up and hit a 3-pointer to make it 42-41 with just 14.2 seconds left.
Lady Scottie freshman Anzley Adwell stepped and made two clutch free throws to extend the lead back to three with 13.5 seconds remaining. Russell County had a couple of looks from long range in the final seconds, but the Lady Lakers could not get either of them to fall as Glasgow escaped with the victory and gave the defending champions an early exit from the region tournament.
“Couldn’t be more proud of the girls,” Stinson said. “This is a team that beat us by 20 in December, and they are a very experienced basketball team. We are young in a lot of spots. Just really, really proud. Thought we showed a lot of fight and a lot of heart, and I thought we stepped up and made big plays when we needed to make big plays.”
Russell County (24-7) led 20-18 at halftime, and both teams really struggled for offensive momentum in the third quarter as the Lady Lakers held a slim 27-26 advantage heading into the final frame.
But both teams would be able to find the goal to begin the fourth.
The two sides swapped baskets and each found the goal twice on four possessions to begin the quarter before Hale netted a 3-pointer from the right corner to give Glasgow a 33-31 lead with 5:32 left, and the Lady Scotties would not trail again the remainder of the game.
“I know that my role throughout the year has been to step up and knock down those shots,” said Hale of that shot that gave the Lady Scotties a lead they would not relinquish. “A lot of times I’ve been guarded heavily so I don’t get those. So I knew that if I had a sliver of space I had to be ready to take the shot.”
Hale finished with 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field—all her shots coming from three-point range.
Lee led the team with 16 points and 11 rebounds, and the junior’s prescence inside was a major factor in limiting Russell County senior LaShaya Carman to just six points on 3-of-11 sniping from the field.
Loy led Russell County in the loss with 13 points while Ackerman and Jaylen Elmore poured in eight points apiece for the Lady Lakers.
Glasgow is a team that has been picking up momentum as of late, and the Lady Scotties will look to keep the wheels turning against region heavyweight South Warren in the semifinals on Friday night at 8 p.m. The Spartans advanced with a 63-25 victory over Todd County Central on Tuesday night.
“It’s about us and taking care of your own this time of year,” Stinson said. “We’re playing great basketball right now, and we just want to keep it rolling.”
“Some of my goals coming into the season is I wanted 20 wins, and a win in region,” Hale said. “We managed to do that, and we’re not done yet.”