GRAYSON Boyd County’s early barrage put the brakes on East Carter’s roll against 16th Region opponents this season.
The Lady Lions buried five 3-points in the opening minutes and cruised to a 78-43 victory over East Carter.
Harley Paynter connected from the wing on the opening possession and three other teammates dropped in 3-balls as Boyd County roared to a 19-3 lead.
“It’s hard to defend all five girls,” East Carter coach Jeff Damron said. “When a team comes out and hits a couple like that, it builds their confidence. They smacked us in the mouth and we never did recover from it.”
East Carter came in 8-0 against region opponents as part of a 10-3 record. But Boyd County’s blistering shooting and disruptive defense took an early toll.
The Lady Lions finished with a dozen 3pointers and helped force 25 turnovers.
Coach Pete Fraley said he was most pleased with how Boyd County passed the ball.
“We moved it around really well,” he said. “When you make the extra pass and then hit the shot, it’s even better. It wasn’t one person that was hitting all the threes, it was a variety. When we shoot like that we can be dangerous.”
Boyd County junior forward Emma Borders — known primarily for her defense, rebounding and constant hustle — stepped out to go 3-of-4 from long range in the first half.
“My teammates kept feeding me the ball,” Borders said. “I kept letting it fly.”
Borders, who posted 15 points and eight rebounds, credited the Lady Lions’ rugged early schedule for preparing them for the 2002 portion of the schedule.
“It teaches us how to play against different kinds of competition with different officials,” Borders said. “It’s a good experience for us. We were ready tonight. Region games we always come to play. East Carter’s always competitive.”
All five starters hit at least one 3-pointer for the Lady Lions (96).
Paynter made her first two long-range attempts. She was 4-for-5 overall from deep while scoring 24 points against her former team.
Audrey Biggs, a 6-foot eighth-grader, also played a key role in Boyd County’s strong performance. She scored all 15 of her points in the first half, beginning with a trey following a Lady Lions steal.
“The Biggs girls, for her size, is a matchup problem,” Damron said. “Against that team, you have to close out on everybody.”
Bailey Rucker added eight points and Graci Opell made two 3-balls.
Halle Swanagan’s nine points, all on 3-pointers, led East Carter.
“We had too many turnovers and Boyd County hurt us with offensive rebounds,” Damron said. “We’ve been giving up too many of those lately. It’s something we have to improve.”
Both teams played at Franklin County on Saturday in the Centria Metals/Penn State Shootout. East Carter bounced Ballard 69-38, while Boyd County fell to Highlands 71-53.