St. Joe girls back to winning
ASHLAND -- Coming off their first loss of the season, the Huntington St. Joe girls put in a business-like effort in rolling past Greenup County, 77-45, during the Kitten Shootout at Paul G. Blazer High School in Ashland Saturday.
There was little chatter, and little flash as St. Joe (8-1) simply put defensive pressure on the Musketeers (10-9) and forced turnover after turnover for easy transition buckets as the Irish built a 24-0 lead in the first quarter.
Greenup County finally broke through when Destiny Jones hit a three at the 1:38 mark in the first.
Mychal Johnson, St. Joe's scoring leader, had an off-day from the field, but still scored enough in the first half to lead Greenup County by one on her own, as the Irish went to the break with a 40-18 lead.
"If I don't get my shots off, I've got to go to the basket and try and draw defenders, and I felt like I was able to do that," said Johnson, who finished with 25 points. "Our defense was pretty good. We've still got things to work on, but I think we did well."
This was St. Joe's first game back in the Tri-State after competing in the Peach State Winter Classic, a 32-team invitational in Atlanta. The Irish made it to the final game of the tourney, where they fell, 53-48, to Webb, a school out of Knoxville, Tenn.
"After losing in that final game, we just wanted to get back into the gym and correct things that we were doing wrong," Johnson said.
Alongside Johnson, Griffin Dempsey had a big game, with 20 points, including 12 from 3-point range.
"She can really shoot it, and when she gets some shots to go early it's a pretty good sign for us," head coach Shannon Lewis said. "Overall, I was pleased with the effort of our starters."
Lewis substituted liberally in the second half and pulled the starting five with about four minutes to go in the contest.
If there was a bright spot for the Musketeers, it was the play of Jones, who scored 19 points. The senior guard was able to drive the lane against the Irish defense and knocked down four shots from behind the 3-point line.
Meanwhile, Johnson is now just 11 points away from surpassing 1,000 career points as a junior.
"I didn't even know I was that close," she said. "I just play and want to help my teammates. Points matter but it's not like it's the biggest thing. I just want to win."
HUNTINGTON ST. JOE 31 9 20 17 -- 77: Johnson 25, Dempsey 20, Asia Petitte 14, Lee 8, Jenkins 3, Jeffery 3, Parker 2, Mychelle Johnson 2.
GREENUP COUNTY 4 14 14 13 -- 45: Jones 19, Micah Leslie 11, Webb 9, Wireman 2, Thompson 2, Steele 2.
ASHLAND 77, FAIRVIEW 28: In the late game, the Ashland Kittens won as the host team, dismantling Fairview 77-28 to move to 9-2 on the season.
In earlier action, Perry County Central defeated Boyd County 60-56, and Montgomery County survived a late surge by East Carter to prevail over the Raiders, 49-46.
FAIRVIEW 4 12 6 6 -- 28: McPeek 3, Humphrey 3, Adkins 4, Meeks 4, Madison Humphrey 6, Bell 8.
ASHLAND 25 20 17 15 -- 77: Kaylyn Gamble 12, Alexis Robinson 13, Foutch 7, Cullop 4, Slone 2, Jones 5, Young 12, Lane 6, M. Robinson 2, Gransbery 4, Roberts 6, Hammond 2, Vanover 2.
PERRY COUNTY CENTRAL 19 14 11 16 -- 60: Kayla Rankin 23, Whitney Back 11, Napier 3, Sebastian 2, Whitney Evans 12, Spurlock 9.
BOYD COUNTY 10 16 11 19 -- 56: Stewart 1, Taylor Wheeler 19, Logan Fraley 22, Reeves 1, Coburn 7, Kenser 6.
MONTGOMERY 12 10 16 11 -- 49: Conyers 4, Colliver 2, Erica Rogers 10, Macey Spence 27, Tipton 6.
EAST CARTER 9 13 8 16 -- 46: Mayo 7, Breanna Greenhill 17, Stickler 7, Stumbo 7, Gee 1, Hall 5, Damron 2.