By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
Dec. 11, 2013 — The East Carter girl’s basketball team is back in the Eastern Kentucky Conference Tournament Championship after defeating Greenup County 73-37 in the semifinals on Monday night at Rowan County High School.
Everything went right for the Lady Raiders (3-0). They shot 47 percent (30-for-64) from the field, they out rebounded Greenup 36-25, they forced 30 turnovers, had 20 assists, they even had more points off turnovers (39) than the Lady Musketeers had points.
So why does coach Hager Easterling thinks his team can play better?
“We did do a lot of good things out there,” Easterling said. “But we can pressure, trap and rotate better. A lot of people say that’s coach speak but I think we can. We did a better job of running our offense but at times we rushed some shots. But overall, I was happy with the win.”
Freshman Haley Hall led all scorers with 17 points. She also had four rebounds and three steals.
“People hear me getting on Haley a lot. She’s tremendously gifted but the old adage says ‘To whom much is given, much is expected’,” Easterling said. “I know what kind of player Haley can be and the things she can do. She’s just scratching the surface.”
Senior Bryana Greenhill and junior Megan Stickler each had 12 points. Greenhill also had five assists and five steals. 11 total players scored for East Carter in the victory.
Despite playing so well early on, Easterling still wants to see more from his team.
“I thought we played very unselfish and looked for each other,” Easterling said on the 20 assists. “Although I told the girls we do some dumb things on the floor. …That’s what ticks me off and excites me at the same time. I want to cut those things out but I see how good we can be when that happens.”
Kristen Mayo had nine points, six assists and four steals and Bailee Brainard had seven points off the bench. Kelsey Stumbo added five points and Kaylee Limmings had four points. Three players had two points.
Micah Leslie had nine points to lead Greenup County (2-1).
The Lady Raider defense limited Greenup to 15 shot attempts each half. Combined with the 30 miscues, it is no secret how they were able to get past the Lady Musketeers.
“We rotated a lot of bodies at them it wore them down mentally and physically,” Easterling said. “But we gave up some easy shots because we were getting ‘Velcroed’ on screens instead of getting by them. It’s December. For improvement to happen, we have to make adjustments.”
East Carter will have a chance to be the first team in school history to win back-to-back EKC Tournament Championships when they play Fleming County at 6 p.m. Thursday night in Morehead.
“This group has a chance to do that and it’s something that they want,” Easterling said. “We’re going to get (Fleming County’s) best shot. We will need to ‘bring it’ Thursday night.”
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.