Boyle girls end drought vs. Danville

Published 10:56 am Thursday, January 25, 2024

By Mike Marsee

Contributing Writer

The Boyle County girls are trying to check all the boxes.

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The Lady Rebels checked another important box Saturday in the midst of a season of revival for their program as they defeated archrival Danville for the first time in six seasons.

Boyle’s 61-47 victory at Danville was the latest in a series of significant milestones, and evidence of its meaning was right there on the whiteboard in the visitors’ locker room, where coach Brian Britt had written before the game, “Time to check another box!”

The latest box involved beating one of the regular opponents that has gotten the best of Boyle over the past few seasons, and Britt said it’s one more thing the Lady Rebels can build on as they prepare for the postseason.

“Just to be able to check off all those boxes, to be able to experience some things that normally Boyle County girls basketball hasn’t experienced is definitely getting us ready for postseason,” Britt said.

Boyle (13-6, 1-1 45th District) raced to a 15-2 lead in the first seven minutes en route to its first district win of the season and its first win over Danville (6-11, 1-2) after 12 straight losses in the crosstown series.

Addison Yates, an eighth-grader who led Boyle with a career-high 21 points, said ending that losing streak and the team’s other achievements this season have resulted from the Lady Rebels’ effort in their practices.

“Obviously it’s been a while since we’ve done this. I think it’s all about the hard work we put in in practice,” Yates said. “Coach emphasizes our practices are always harder than our games, so I think the hard work we put into practice has definitely paid off.”

The Danville team Boyle beat is not the same one that has dominated the crosstown series since the Lady Rebels’ last win in a 2018 district tournament game. The Lady Admirals lost 75 percent of their scoring from last season, when they won 30 games and their fourth consecutive district title.

Danville coach Judie Mason said her team was floored by Boyle’s fast start in a game that was postponed the day before due to winter weather and that was both teams’ first in about a week

“It was game over,” Mason said. “I’m not making excuses because they’ve had the same layoff as we had … but I think it showed in our conditioning. I thought we hit that wall early. The first quarter was the game, and I thought the rest of the game was pretty even.”

Yates scored Boyle’s first five points and four other players also scored during the opening run, and she scored the first five points of the second half as the Lady Rebels opened the second quarter with 11 straight points to take a 46-26 lead.

Both teams had runs throughout the game, but Danville never got closer than six points after falling behind early and Britt said he was pleased with the way Boyle responded to each of the Lady Admirals’ runs as they moved to within one victory of their win total from last season.

Yates went 5 for 10 from 3-point range and 8 for 14 overall from the field and Payton Bugg was 5 for 11 from the field and scored 17 points for Boyle, which shot 40 percent from the field and went 8 for 23 from long range.

“We shot better today, and it’s because we were taking better quality shots off our penetration,” Britt said.

Boyle’s defensive plan was to stop Danville’s drives to the basket, and Britt said the Lady Rebels’ success was indicative of their more determined approach on defense this season.

“Defensively the girls have taken it up several notches this year and just increased their physicality, increased their energy and the way they play defense, and it makes a lot of difference,” he said.

He said part of that approach means being more physical when opponents come into the lane, and he said the Lady Rebels did that.

“Our MO is going to be that we’re physical, we’re hard-nosed,” Britt said. “We’re defenders, and we want people by the end of the game to not want to play us.”

Yates said Boyle’s experience a week earlier in the Kentucky 2A Championships helped them improve on defense.

“There were faster, stronger teams there, and I think that we’ve gotten used to it and become one of the faster and stronger teams,” she said.

Danville shot 34 percent from the field and was 3 for 14 from 3-point range. Myla Turner had 19 points and Alayah Quisenberry had 17 and Tayvionna Caldwell had 13 rebounds for Danville.