Danville girls rout Rockcastle in region opener

By Mike Marsee
Contributing Writer

SOMERSET — For most of their game Monday night, the Danville girls’ running game was very good. For a few minutes, it was almost perfect.

The Lady Admirals were at their best in the third quarter, when their high-speed, high-pressure game began to take its toll on Rockcastle County.

They contested shots, controlled the boards and scored in transition to turn a one-point game into a 15-point game, and they went on to a 79-61 victory in the first round of the girls 12th Region Tournament at Pulaski County.

Danville hit 12 of 22 shots from the field, turned the ball over only once, held Rockcastle to 4-of-14 shooting and outrebounded the Lady Rockets 14-8 in the third period as they began to tire.

“We were moving the ball and playing defense, getting going,” Danville guard Tyliah Bradshaw said. “Probably by the end of the third quarter I saw that they were getting tired and I saw that we could go.”

Danville (16-5) will go on to the semifinals, where it will face Southwestern at 7 p.m. Friday.

The process of wearing Rockcastle (11-8) down began at the start of the game and continued through a frenetic first half that ended with Danville leading 37-36, but Danville coach Judie Mason said she told her players at halftime there was still work to be done.

“I was a little upset with our defense the first half. I didn’t think that we were closing out, and they were getting open shots,” Mason said. “But I felt like if we kept them in a running game we could wear them down in the third quarter.”

Danville got offense from multiple sources in the third quarter — five girls scored in double figures — but much of it started with Bradshaw, who replaced point guard Love Mays and led the second-half charge.

Mays had scored 12 points in the first half, but Bradshaw had 13 in the second half and got the ball to the right people at the right times in what Mason said was her best game of the year.

“It’s great if Love’s having an off game or something to be able to throw Tyliah in there. She was a big spark for us tonight.”

Bradshaw said she was motivated by her teammates, who were spurring her on from the bench.

“Everybody was screaming at me, and I had to show them what I could do,” she said. “They were just saying, ‘Go, Ty! Go, Ty!’”

Bradshaw finished with 16 points, well above her average of 4.8 per game. Mason noted that she had missed five games during a 21-day absence and said she was just now getting into shape.

“Tyliah is as good as anybody and she knows our system, and she was the difference in the game tonight because she got the ball where it needed to be,” Mason said.

Mason said the Lady Admirals are in better shape than they were before a 10-day layoff leading up to last week’s 45th District Tournament, and she said that’s why she believed they could outlast Rockcastle in a running game.

“People say we’ve got eight or nine kids, but the kids I’ve got are pretty daggone good, and they’re in shape,” she said. “We got in shape that week and really worked on just pushing the ball up the floor, and it showed tonight. You could tell from the very first time down the floor we were going to be running.”

Still playing in masks, as they have for all but one game this season, the Lady Admirals scored the first seven points of the game before Rockcastle recovered and took its biggest lead of the first half at 24-16 on consecutive baskets by Camryn Preston at the start of the second quarter.

The Lady Rockets led only once at 30-29 after an 8-0 run.

Preston, who scored a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds and had 10 rebounds, banked in a jump shot to open the second half. Of the Lady Admirals’ 11 remaining baskets in the third quarter, however, seven were layups, four came in transition and two were on putbacks.

They got seven offensive rebounds in the third quarter, including three by Desiree Tandy, and outrebounded Rockcastle 20-16 in the second half.

“I felt like in the first half (rebounds) were just landing in their hands,” Mason said. “In the second half our guards got those backside rebounds, and when the guards get that rebound it makes our fast break go faster because we can go with it.”

Danville carried a 15-3 run into the early minutes of the fourth quarter, taking a 72-51 lead on a layup by Bradshaw, who had eight points during that run. It led by as many as 22 points down the stretch.

Akers scored 15 points, including 13 in the second half, and Tandy had 13 points and nine rebounds.
Danville was 19 for 32 from the field in the second half and shot 54 percent overall from the field. Rockcastle went 7 for 26 in the second half and finished at 34 percent.

Casey Coleman led the Lady Rockets with 16 points, and Taylynne Shearer had 12 rebounds.

Southwestern (18-3), Danville’s semifinal opponent, advanced with 60-32 win over West Jessamine.

The Lady Warriors won a home game against Danville 61-57 on Jan. 12 in the third game of the season for both teams. Point guard Alexa Smiddy scored only seven points in that game but averages 15, and Mason said she makes Southwestern difficult to defend.

“I’ve said from the beginning they’re the team to beat,” Mason said. “When you’ve got a true point guard, it’s hard to press.

We’re not going to stop her, but we’ve just got to figure a way to maybe try to slow her down a little bit.”

The regional semifinals are where Danville has been stopped in each of the last two seasons.

“We’ve lost in the semifinals the last two years to Casey County. We want to win at least one more than we have the last two years,” Mason said.

Girls 12th Region Tournament
At Pulaski County

First Round
Rockcastle County 16 – 36 – 48 – 61
Danville                   20 – 37 – 62 – 79

ROCKCASTLE (11-8) — Lindsay Jones 11, Casey Coleman 16, Keelee King 12, Hallie Brown 12, Darby Smith 3, Taylynne Shearer 7.
DANVILLE (16-5) — Love Mays 12, Lara Akers 15, Camryn Preston 21, Desiree Tandy 13, Jenna Akers 2, Tyliah Bradshaw 16.