Jan. 22, 2014 — The ninth ranked East Carter Lady Raiders are on a roll.
They have won 11 straight games since their only loss to the second-ranked team in the state Elizabethtown in a Christmas tournament in Lexington.
East continued their winning ways, defeating Boyd County at their place 56-42 to stay undefeated against 16th Region opponents.
While pundits and media members circled the game on their calendar, Coach Hager Easterling stressed to his girls that this was just another game.
“That’s what we try to teach the girls,” Easterling said. “The most important game on our schedule this year was (this one). Now Friday, the most important game on our schedule will be Russell, and I think that’s the way you have to approach the season, because you know what, what I’ve found out, it doesn’t matter if you get beat by Boyd County or Russell, you feel just as stinky either way.”
Junior Megan Stickler, who scored 16 points in the victory, agreed with her coach.
“We’re just playing hard against every team,” Stickler said. “We make sure we play each team in front of us.”
The Lady Raiders (18-1) looked to shoot the Lady Lions (10-6) out of their own gym, jumping out to a 20-9 lead after one quarter. Boyd freshman Alexis Lunsford hit a three to bring the Lady Lions within seven early but a 16-3 run was capped off by one of Stickler’s four three-point baskets to push East out to the big lead.
“We got in a rhythm,” Easterling said. “Shooting is so much dependent upon rhythm. ‘Are you ready to shoot the ball before you catch it? Are you believing in yourself? Are you moving? Have you got in the gap? Are you ready to go?’ And we were doing that the first half.”
Easterling credited the defense of junior Kelsey Stumbo, who had four blocks on Saturday.
“She lets us play a lot of pressure out on the perimeter because we know that if somebody gets by us, that we’ve got somebody back there that can help us,” Easterling said.
The lead jumped out to 23 before Easterling called off the full court pressure. In the second half, the Lady Lions outscored East by just four points.
But the game was already out of hand, with East Carter shooting better than 53 percent for the game. Freshman Haley Hall also scored 16 points in the win. Freshman Kristen Mayo contributed with 14 points.
Each game is different. Senior Bryana Greenhill, who played a big part in East’s win at Fleming County with 19 points, did not score a point against Boyd. Saturday, it was Stickler and Hall who carried the load.
“That’s why you’re a team,” Easterling said. “This team right here is the epitome of the definition of the word ‘team.’ They pick each other up.”
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.