By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
Jan. 30, 2013 — On a night where East Carter’s offense was struggling, the Lady Raiders defense really picked up.
The Lady Raiders shot just 29 percent from the field, but turned Lewis County over 31 times Monday night en route to a 50-34 victory Monday night in Grayson.
Easterling said after the first quarter the press really started to set in, which led to several easy buckets.
“We shot the ball terrible tonight but winning games on heart and toughness, it’s good for you at this time of year because you’re going to face these types of situations in the postseason,” Easterling said.
The game looked to be a track meet early with East Carter racing out to a 12-5 lead on two Bryana Greenhill free throws. But the Lady Lions played East at its own game, turning the Lady Raiders over to take the 14-12 lead after the first quarter.
East then settled down and ripped off a 7-0 with a bucket by Kerie Steele run in the second quarter for the press to force the issue with Lewis. That is where the Red and Blue took over.
“They didn’t have the legs to beat us off the dribble and we’re handling the ball strong,” Easterling said. “That’s been our staple all year is pressure and staying after you. And somewhere we’re going to get a run out of it.”
The third quarter was a different story with East Carter missing their first eight shots, six from beyond the arc. Lewis cut the lead to 25-23, but the pressure got to the Lady Lions as ECHS went on a 13-0 run over the span of six minutes to lead 38-23 in the fourth.
“I’m proud of our kids,” Easterling said. “In a tight game where you’re missing shots, it has a tendency to affect you and start drooping your shoulders and hanging your head a little bit but we didn’t do that. We kept guarding and kept fighting.”
Kristen Mayo led all scorers with 15 points, including 13 in the first half. Kelsey Stumbo scored eight points. Haley Hall, Alexis Pennington and Steele each had six points. Megan Stickler had five points and Greenhill scored four points to round out the scoring for East.
“I love coaching these kids,” Easterling said. “We lagged a little bit in December I thought in some games as far as keeping our intensity where it needed to be. But ever since the Lexington Catholic tournament, we really started really getting after people and keeping up our intensity high and it’s really carrying over.”
East Carter (18-5) has now won nine straight, and 13-of-14 since Christmas break. Now is the time, Easterling said for the Lady Raiders to move full speed ahead.
“This is the time of year you want to playing well and starting to peak” Easterling said. “Lewis County is a great talented team. We shot the ball terribly but we won by 16. If we just shoot a normal percentage like we’re capable of, think of what happens in that game. The way we’ve been guarding, it’s going to give you a chance.”
East snapped Lewis County’s (11-9) six game winning streak. The Lady Lions were led in scoring by Jacey Fite’s nine points.
East Carter will hit the road Saturday evening against Boyd County.
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.