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16th Region girls quarters: Red Devils roar past Lions, move on to semifinals

Mar. 5—MOREHEAD — It didn't take long for Russell to take control on Monday.

From the tip, the Red Devils controlled every facet of the game en route to a 55-22 victory over Elliott County to advance in the 16th Region Tournament.

"I feel like our pressure defense was really good," Russell coach Mandy Layne said. "Especially the first half, only holding them to two field goals. I thought we did a really good job getting in passing lanes and contesting shots."

It was a rematch from last year's first round where Russell picked up the 58-30 victory.

"You know, I have a daughter that plays on this team but, especially the other kids that I've had forever, they're like daughters to me too," Elliott County coach Roy Whitt said. "This is the first team in the history of Elliott County to go to the region tournament twice. So many firsts for this team and I just got a special group of kids right here."

The loss ends the Lions' season with a record of 9-18.

Russell came out of the gate hot with a 9-2 run that had Elliott County calling its first timeout with 4:39 to go in the opening quarter.

The Red Devils had already turned the Lions over three times in the first two minutes.

Russell's defense was a menace all night and smothered Elliott County for much of the contest.

Out of the timeout, another pair of turnovers led to Shaelyn Steele draining a 3 before laying one in under the basket.

The Lions struggled to get anything going offensively and ended the quarter with just two points off a basket from Bailee Artrip.

Russell put up 19 in the opening frame and had 10 takeaways against Elliott County.

Leanna Preston finally put more points on the board for the Lions early in the second quarter to make it a 23-4 game.

"We ran into a buzzsaw tonight," Whitt said. "Russell, defensively is out of this world. Mandy does just an amazing job with them. She's such a good coach and their kids play with class. Obviously, we wanted things to go differently, but I'm so proud of these kids and what they've accomplished."

Elliott County did a better job of hanging on to the ball, only turning it over twice in the frame.

The Lions also tacked on four free throws from as many attempts in the quarter.

Unfortunately for Elliott County, the Red Devils' offense was still firing on all cylinders.

Russell continued to add to its tally, including a couple more 3s from Steele and Bella Quinn.

The Red Devils totaled six made 3s in the game.

Another aspect of the game that was leaning Russell's way was the rebound deferential.

The Red Devils had over twice as many rebounds as the Lions.

"Rebounding, second chance points, are going to be a big part of the game on Friday," Layne said. "It's going to be huge for us. So, for us to be able to do that, I was really happy with that."

By halftime, the Russell led 36-8.

Hannah Sanders and Kennedy Darnell opened the second half with a 3 from the corner.

A layup from Sanders at 5:53 officially put the game into running clock mode as the Red Devils led 44-8.

Elliott County didn't quit. Kiley Whitt drained a big 3-pointer at the 3:59 mark of the third quarter.

"They don't quit; they have such amazing hearts," Whitt said. "They never quit and that's who they are. They're class-act kids, straight-A students. I couldn't ask for a better group of kids with the character they have. It's been such an honor to be their coach."

Russell subbed out all of its starters after the media timeout with just under three minutes to go in the third frame.

"We'll have three days of rest, so sometimes it's maybe a little better just to let them play all four quarters just to get a feel of it," Layne said. "But, it's always good at this time to get some rest, but I see some disadvantages to it too."

An old-fashioned three-point play from Elliott County's Rylee Sturgill made it a 49-16 game going into the last quarter.

With the game firmly out of hand, the fourth quarter simply sealed the victory for the Red Devils.

Steele led the night in scoring with 14 points. Hannah Sanders chipped in 12 points and Quinn added 10.

Hamilton led the Lions with seven points.

With Russell's focus shifting to Ashland and the semifinals, Layne wants her squad to stay in the zone and enjoy the experience.

"Let's have fun," Layne said. "They're the favorites. So, we're going to go in, hopefully, be loose, and like I tell my kids, we're going to play hard and have fun."

ELLIOTT CO. FG FT REB TP

Hamilton 1-7 5-6 7 7

Howard 1-6 3-4 0 5

Whitt 1-3 0-0 3 3

Sturgill 1-10 1-1 5 3

Artripp 1-1 0-0 1 2

Preston 1-2 0-0 0 2

Cook 0-0 0-0 1 0

Team 4

TOTAL 6-29 9-11 21 22

FG Pct.: 20.6. FT Pct.: 81.8. 3-pointers: 1-8 (Whitt 1-2, Hamilton 0-1, Sturgill 0-2, Howard 0-3). PF: 6. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 19.

RUSSELL FG FT REB TP

Steele 6-13 0-0 6 14

Sanders 5-8 1-1 7 12

Quinn 4-8 0-0 4 10

Darnell 3-10 0-2 6 7

Oborne 1-5 2-2 2 4

Allen 2-4 0-1 2 4

Troxler 1-3 0-0 2 2

Frasure 1-1 0-0 2 2

Fitzpatrick 0-1 0-0 3 0

Phipps 0-0 0-0 1 0

Price 0-3 0-0 3 0

Fielden 0-3 0-0 1 0

Howard 0-1 0-2 1 0

Sharp 0-0 0-0 1 0

Team 2

TOTAL 23-60 3-8 43 55

FG Pct.: 38.3. FT Pct.: 37.5. 3-pointers: 6-22 (Quinn 2-4, Steele 2-6, Sanders 1-1, Darnell 1-2, Fielden 0-3, Oborne 0-3, Price 0-3). PF: 14. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 6.

ELLIOTT CO. 2 6 8 6 — 22

RUSSELL 19 17 13 6 — 55

Officials: Charles Chappie, Tim O'Hara, Bob Cole

(606) 326-2658 — wadams@dailyindependent.com