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Johnson leads rally for Irish

Dec. 15, 2012 @ 12:35 AM

SUMMIT, Ky. -- Boyd County Roundball Classic games got off to an exciting start Friday evening.

Led by Notre Dame commit Mychal Johnson, Huntington St. Joe's girls basketball team started the fourth quarter on a 15-2 run to overcome a deficit and defeated Boyd County, 53-47, at Boyd County Middle School.

Johnson finished the game with 36 points to lead the Irish on her mother's birthday.

She said the team had to turn it on in the fourth quarter after coming out sluggish to start the second half.

"Halftime always slows us down a little bit, but after we start playing for a little bit, we get caught back up on speed of our game and play like we did in the first half," Johnson said.

St. Joe's offensive surge in the final quarter came on the strength of its defense -- namely Mychelle Johnson, who disrupted the Boyd County offense by applying pressure.

That pressure resulted in seven turnovers in the fourth quarter as the Irish went on their run. Despite the outcome, Boyd County coach Pete Fraley was proud of his team's effort and said the contest will be beneficial down the road.

"We made some silly mistakes," Fraley said. "We're kind of light on numbers (players) right now so we couldn't simulate that (pressure) in practice. I'd much rather them do it to us and us prepare for it than to wait until later in the year."

Taylor Wheeler led Boyd County with 18 points, including 14 in the second half. Wheeler helped lead a 12-2 run to open the third quarter that gave the Lions the lead.

While the Lions' offense got moving, it was the defense that was critical for Boyd County through three quarters.

With Huntington St. Joe guard Griffin Dempsey missing the game because of an injury, Fraley wanted his players to get out on shooters Rachel Lee and Asia Petitte.

Getting out on Lee was a critical focal point, considering that last season, Lee hit six 3-pointers against the Lions.

"Especially with Griff not there, we thought Rachel and Asia would look to score more," Fraley said. "We tried to find them out there and our girls did a nice job. Mychal's just really good."

Mychal Johnson also noticed the Lions defense trying to take away the other scorers.

She took the game into her hands and took over down the stretch. Johnson credited her teammates with being able to get open.

"Last year, Rachel hit seven 3-pointers against them and they weren't going to let her shoot," Johnson said. "They got out on her side. My teammates helped me a lot. Asia and Caitlin set really good screens and that helped a lot and my sister (Mychelle) brought the ball up and allowed me to get free."

Boyd County jumped out to an early lead on the strength of the shooting of Logan Fraley, who finished with four 3-pointers and 13 points.

"It was just miscommunication, not talking and we got lackadaisical," Huntington St. Joe coach Shannon Lewis said. "She got loose and when she gets good looks, she's going to knock it down."

Both teams return to action Saturday.

Huntington St. Joe hosts Parkersburg Catholic at 7 p.m. while Boyd County takes on Wheelersburg at 3:15 p.m. in the second day of the Boyd County Roundball Classic.

HUNTINGTON ST. JOE 8 19 6 20 -- 53: Mychal Johnson 36, Rachel Lee 10, Petitte 7

BOYD COUNTY 9 14 14 10 -- 47: Stewart 6, Taylor Wheeler 18, Logan Fraley 13, Hu. Reeves 2, Coburn 4, Kenser 4

BOYD COUNTY 81, SHELBY VALLEY 70: The host Lions posted a boys victory in game two of the Boyd County Roundball Classic.

Todd Stacey scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and Austin Hunt added 21 points to lead Boyd County.

The Lions trailed at the end of each of the first three quarters, but Stacy hit three 3-pointers during a crucial stretch to lead the Lions back into the lead.

Of Hunt's 21 points, 13 came in the second half.

Andrew Newsome led Shelby Valley with 20 points while Hunter Swindell added 18. Cory Hamilton added 16 and Dalton Richardson finished with 14.

Brandon Lowe added 18 for Boyd County and Jesse Wallace finished with 10.

The Lions play again at 8:45 p.m., Saturday, against Mason County.

SHELBY VALLEY 17 24 13 16 -- 70: Cory Hamilton 16, Hunter Swindell 18, Dalton Richardson 14, Andrew Newsome 20, Huffman 2

BOYD COUNTY 15 23 15 28 -- 81: Austin Hunt 21, Jesse Wallace 10, Todd Stacey 18, Taylor 4, Anderson 4, Burgess 6, Brandon Lowe 18