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Woods, Kittens overwhelm Lions 68-49 to win first district crown since 2015

Feb. 28—SUMMIT — After nine years, Ashland can call itself a district champion.

The Kittens took down Boyd County, 68-49, on Wednesday in a game that Ashland controlled most of the contest.

"It was our grit," Ashland coach Stacy Davis said. "We stick with it no matter what. It was close there for a little bit, we got in foul trouble, but we didn't let that affect us. We played through it. That's what I'm most proud about."

Kenleigh Woods returned to the lineup for the Kittens following an extended absence due to injury.

It was like she hadn't missed a second of playing time.

The junior standout put up a team-high 24 points in the win.

In addition to Woods' sharpshooting abilities was Ashland's ability to turn the Lions over. Boyd County committed 18 turnovers in the game, many of which allowed the Kittens to string multiple shots together.

"We just turned the ball over way too many times," Boyd County coach Pete Fraley said. "They were better than us. That's the bottom line. They were better. I'll take this one. We just couldn't push through their defensive pressure, which caused us problems. That was probably the turning point of the game. They put a lot of pressure on us and took us out of some of the things that we wanted to run."

Both teams were neck and neck to start the contest, but the Kittens closed the first frame on a 10-0 run to give them a 20-11 lead at the end of eight minutes.

The run started with a Woods 3-pointer, followed by a steal and a basket from Ella Sellars.

After a stop, Sellars hit another 3 and received a layup from Aryanna Gulley that closed the first quarter.

Keeping the Lions afloat in the first frame was Jasmine Jordan, who did her typical damage underneath the basket, recording eight points.

Boyd County gained some ground back in the first half of the second quarter following an 11-2 run that pulled the Lions to a 29-25 deficit.

Nearly half of those points came via the free throw line as Boyd County challenged the Ashland defense through contact.

Jordan added nine more to her total, including a made 3.

The Kittens responded in the latter portion of the second frame.

Sellars tacked on six more points with a perfect 3-3 shooting from the field in the quarter.

The result was a 37-27 lead for Ashland heading into the locker room at the break.

The Kittens defense in the first half held the Lions to just 8-23 from the field.

In particular, Ashland silenced Audrey Biggs, who had just two points from as many free throws.

Biggs, who recently had to transition to ball-handling duties for Boyd County, finished the game with eight points, all from the charity stripe.

"We know she's had to become the main ball handler now, so our goal was to get after her and get the ball out of her hands," Davis said. "If the ball isn't in her hands, she can't score. Our girls did a good job of that. Audrey's a heck of a player. It's just that her having to take that role is different from what she's used to playing and we took advantage of it."

Fraley is pleased with how Biggs has handled her shifting positions this season, even if it's not a situation the team wants to be in.

"She's a work in progress there," Fraley said. "I hate it that I've had to put her in this situation, but things happen. That's our best option right now to put her there to where she gets the ball. We just have to find a way to get her some more touches and get some more offense there. I'm not displeased with putting her at the point or the way she's running the point. It's just we've got to find a way to get more people involved."

The Kittens tacked on a couple more points to their lead in the third quarter.

Sellars hit another timely 3 to open the third frame. The long jumper seemed to set the pace for the rest of the quarter.

Ashland continued to display great ball movement in the third quarter and fought for every 50-50 ball. The Kittens managed to snag rebounds out from under Boyd County's nose all night long.

"They came in here wanting to win," Davis said. "They haven't won it since '15. We took care of business tonight, and now we head to the next one. We talk about the keys to winning, it's the 50-50 balls. That was one of our main focuses and the girls did that."

The Kittens also managed to keep Jordan relatively quiet, as she put up just five points in the quarter.

Ashland took a 51-39 lead into the final frame and never looked back.

Woods capped off her performance with nine more points, including her third 3 of the night, before exiting to a round of applause from the Ashland faithful.

"She's just a warrior," Davis said of Woods. "She almost doubted herself a little bit before the game. She was like, 'What if I can't hit anything?' I told her, 'You'll be fine.' The way she came out and played, it was like she hadn't ever been gone. That's just Kenleigh Woods."

Fraley was also impressed by Woods' performance.

"Kenleigh is a special player," Fraley said. "She had a great game, played really well, and I'm glad to see her back on the floor."

Ashland was able to cruise to the victory from there.

Jordan led the Lions in scoring with 28 points.

Fraley wants the team to put this loss behind them and reset for the region tournament.

"It same seems cliche, but district tournament was a new season, and now the region tournaments is a new season," Fraley said. "You have to win three games to get to Rupp and it's one game at a time. The most important game on our schedule is whoever we play Monday or Tuesday."

Davis hopes her squad keeps the pedal down as the region tournament awaits.

"Just never quit," Davis said. "No matter what, stay in there. We want our bench to be ready to come out when their names called, go out there, play and take care of business."

ASHLAND FG FT REB TP

Woods 10-15 1-1 3 24

Sellars 8-15 0-0 3 18

Karle 5-8 0-1 3 12

J. Gulley 3-5 1-2 8 7

Duckwyler 1-3 1-4 2 3

Delaney 1-5 0-0 4 2

A. Gulley 1-3 0-0 2 2

Team 0

TOTAL 29-54 3-8 25 68

FG Pct.: 53.7. FT Pct.: 37.5. 3-pointers: 7-19 (Woods 3-5, Karle 2-5, Sellars 2-5, Delaney 0-1, Duckwyler 0-1, A. Gulley 0-1, J. Gulley 0-1). PF: 20. Fouled out: J. Delaney, Karle. Turnovers: 9.

BOYD CO. FG FT REB TP

Jordan 9-14 9-11 9 28

Biggs 0-7 8-8 4 8

Ray 2-5 2-2 1 6

Stevens 1-3 1-2 6 3

Moore 1-4 0-0 0 3

Stephens 0-1 1-2 1 1

Team 4

TOTAL 13-34 21-25 25 49

FG Pct.: 38.2. FT Pct.: 84. 3-pointers: 2-9 (Jordan 1-1, Moore 1-4, Biggs 0-1, Ray 0-1, Stevens 0-2). PF: 11. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 18.

ASHLAND 20 17 14 17 — 68

BOYD CO. 11 16 12 10 — 49

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

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