Ads wear down Scotties, advance to semifinals

Published 12:01 am Saturday, January 25, 2020

Danville coach Judie Mason knew that if her team was going to have a chance to beat Glasgow on Friday morning, they needed to do two things — slow down Glasgow’s pair of 6-foot stars and play together as a team.

They accomplished both of those and came away with a 59-51 victory to advance to the semifinals.

“That’s what our team is all about. I don’t have any superstars on this team,” Mason said. “I don’t have a 00 (Ashanti Gore) or a 15 (Anzley Adwell) who can get to the lane anytime she wants to. But I have one of the best teams — in my opinion — around because they do play as a team. Like I told you the last time, we work as a unit and when we do that we’re pretty daggone good. That’s the beauty of being a team.”

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Mason told her team Thursday that her team’s conditioning would be the key to winning. And the Ads combination of a full court press and a deep bench got the job done.

“It was fun and that’s what I told them. I knew that if we continued to work hard, they would get tired and that’s what won the game for us,” she said. “Our conditioning and all the yelling every day in practice is what won that game because they believed they were in better shape than that team.”

The first quarter was a back and forth affair.

The Ads struck first when Lara Akers got a steal and found Ahyana Burnett in transition for a three. After Nina McMurtrey hit a three to give Glasgow its first lead of the game, Burnett came out of a time out and tied the game again, but McMurtrey hit her third three of the quarter to give the Scotties the lead going into the first break.

In the second quarter, the Ads had to fight to get the lead back, but Cam Preston made a runner in the lane and got sent to the line where she completed the and-1 to put Danville in the lead. 

Tyliah Bradshaw caught fire in the final two minutes of the half, scoring seven straight points to push Danville’s lead. As time was expiring, her shot attempt was blocked, but fell right to Jenna Akers who got the shot off with .2 seconds remaining to beat the buzzer and send Danville into the half up 28-20.

“We were in pretty good shape at halftime. We were on a roll and basically what I told them was to calm down and get it back together,” Mason said. “We hit that shot at the buzzer and they were hyped and that’s what I wanted them to be, but I wanted them back under control. That’s what I told them — this high doesn’t do anything if we don’t finish.”

In the second half, Danville came out on fire — specifically the Akers sisters. 

Jenna hit a three to start the third and Lara added five straight points. The pair combined for 10 points in the third period to give the Ads a 14 point lead. But Glasgow fought back, led by senior center Gore. 

The six-footer was the game’s leading scorer with 33 points and played the entire game. But Danville shut down the Scotties’ other leading scorer — Azwell — who only scored two points on the day. 

“I told the kids to take one of them away. We can’t stop both of them, but we can stop one of them,” Mason said. ”That’s what we did against Louisville Collegiate — we took their best player out and other people stepped up. We couldn’t both of them but we did enough and stopped 15 and 00 did her thing.”

Danville, on the other hand, got big games from everybody Friday morning, and everybody contributed in their own way.

“Let me tell you something, it took everybody,” Mason said. “Tyliah took a chewing and went right back out there and lit a spark. Des didn’t have a good game at the beginning and I chewed her and she came out and hit a big basket when we hadn’t scored. Every single person played… Every single person played and right there at the end, I didn’t think we kept our matchups but we did enough to pull it off.”

As her team was filing out of the locker room, Mason was already looking at game film of Bethlehem — who they will face tomorrow at noon.

“Bethlehem played Southwestern and beat them by three. We lost to Southwestern by three and didn’t make layups and free throws,” she said. “We’re going to look at game film and see what we got. We’ll work from now until we see them tomorrow and if we play that hard, I’ll take my chances with my team.”