ASHLAND, Ky. — Lessons learned by Huntington St. Joe in its last overtime game were applied by the Fighting Irish on Wednesday with a 51-50 overtime win over the Ashland Kittens in a high school girls basketball game at Anderson Gymnasium.
A 65-62 loss to Logan in overtime on Monday came from mistakes the Irish (3-1) made in the extra period, head coach Shannon Lewis said.
“Maybe that helped us a little,” Lewis said after the victory over Ashland. “We did tell them, ‘Hey, we’ve been here before.’”
Amya Damon led St. Joe and all scorers with 28 points in the win and aided the rebounding effort for the Fighting Irish. Makayla Smith did her part too with 12 points and 15 rebounds.
As a team, St. Joe outrebounded Ashland 32-20, unofficially.
The Irish got a fast start with Makayla Smith and Damon scoring the first seven points of the game through 5:31 of the opening period. Ashland fought back with an 11-2 run through the 2:07 mark.
Julia Preservati’s 3-pointer as time expired in the first quarter pulled the Fighting Irish back to within one point at 13-12.
Ashland never led by more than four points at any point of the second period, but Carly Cullop scored nine of her 14 points for the Kittens in the first half to help her team control the lead for much of the second period.
St. Joe came back with a 3-pointer by Lacie Smith from the top of the key that got a friendly bounce off the back of the rim that made the score 25-24 for St. Joe.
On the other end, though, Ashland answered with a 3-pointer from Lindsay Wallenfelsz to go back in front at 27-25.
Makayla Smith answered with a field goal to tie the game with 58 seconds left in the first half and the two teams went to halftime knotted at 27-27.
Ashland appeared to take control late in the third period. Cullop knocked down a 3-pointer at the 3:02 mark then followed a 2-point field goal from Ella Sellars with a 2-pointer of her own to give Ashland a 40-35 lead.
A layup by Damon pulled St. Joe to 40-37 at the end of the third, but a 3-pointer by Kenleigh Woods at 6:35 of the fourth quarter gave Ashland its biggest lead at six points.
St. Joe gradually chipped away at the lead, finally jumping in front of the Kittens with 2:43 to play on a two by Damon.
Damon made the back end of two foul shots to give St. Joe a 46-43 lead with 18.6 seconds to go but it couldn’t hold the lead.
Woods and Casey Wallenfelsz combined to make 3-of-4 free throws to knot the game at 46-46 and the Irish failed to get a shot off in regulation to tie or win the contest.
Damon scored all five of St. Joe’s overtime points to seal the win.
“Our shooting was bad tonight,” Ashland head coach Bill Bradley said. “We shoot threes a lot better than we did tonight, but when the shots aren’t falling you got to do other things like boxing out and playing better defense. We just didn’t do enough of it tonight.”
Huntington St. Joe follows the win with a game on Friday at Grace Christian school in contest that has a 5:30 start.
“I feel like by the end of the season we’re going to tell a lot of heads,” said Irish junior Mikayla Smith. “A lot of people didn’t expect us to come out here and do what we’re doing now because we lost a lot of people. We play insanely well together.”
With the loss to St. Joe, the Kittens (13-8) completed its regular season and will begin play in the KHSAA’s 62nd District tournament on Tuesday against Rose Hill Christian at Boyd County Middle School.
HUNTINGTON ST. JOE 13 15 10 9 5 — 51: L. Smith 5, Damon 28, George 1, Preservati 5, M. Smith 12.
ASHLAND 13 14 13 6 4 — 50: Cullop 14, Woods 8, Sellars 17, C. Wallenfelsz 5, Lindsay Wallenfelsz 6.