Russell County just would not give in.
Shooting just 10 percent from the field in the first half and trailing 31-21 with under six minutes to go against Glasgow in the first round of the Fourth Region Tournament, the Lady Lakers began to heat up from the field and ended the game on a 19-5 run to prevail with a 40-36 victory at E.A. Diddle Arena on Sunday afternoon.
“We just started being aggressive and shots started falling,” Russell County coach Brett Blankenship said. “I told them surely we couldn’t go 2-for-20 in the second half like we did the first half. But I have a resilient bunch, and when things get tight they always respond. It’s been like this season: they’re gritty and they don’t like to lose. They just stepped it up there from six minutes on. I’m proud of them.”
Meanwhile Glasgow led the majority of the afternoon but saw its lead dwindle away due to some costly turnovers and letting Russell County get open looks from deep as the Lady Lakers made all three of their 3-pointers for the game in the final quarter while shooting 11-of-22 (50 percent) from the field in the second half.
“We just turned it over too many times,” Glasgow coach Justin Stinson said. “That’s been our M.O. all year long: we can get sloppy with the ball. We turned it over and over, missed some easy shots, missed some free throws, and that’s just part of it. You don’t mean to miss them and kids don’t mean to turn the ball over, but we did all of those things. It’s just kind of the perfect storm.”
Glasgow (23-8) came out strong to start the game as the Lady Scotties led 5-0 two minutes into the game after a 3-pointer by Dynasti Page and held a 10-3 advantage at the end of the first frame.
Russell County (24-8) cut its deficit to 12-8 after a pair of free throws by Sophie Shearer, but Glasgow answered right back with a triple by Page at the other end. The Lady Scotties went into the locker room with a 17-9 lead—a big reason for that being their stifling defense as they held the Lady Lakers to just 2-of-20 (10 percent) shooting from the field in the first half.
The defensive struggle continued for both teams in the third quarter. Glasgow did steal some momentum at the end of the quarter, however, as Kayla Bradley had a putback just seconds before the horn to give the Lady Scotties a 27-21 advantage going into the final frame.
Page buried a triple on Glasgow’s opening possession of the fourth and Ashanti Gore netted a free throw to push the Lady Scotties’ lead to double digits, but Russell County came storming back with a trifecta by Shiyanne Elkins and a coast-to-coast layup by Star Marcum as the Lady Lakers cut their deficit to 31-26 with 5:06 to go.
That was just the beginning of the Lady Lakers’ furious rally as Russell County responded every time the Lady Scotties made a push to expand their lead.
A 3-pointer by Sophie Shearer cut Russell County’s deficit to 31-29 before Page answered back with a mid-range jumper to put Glasgow up 33-29 with 2:56 to go. After Star Marcum husted and had a putback after a missed free throw, Page had yet another big-time basket for Glasgow as her three-point play expanded the Lady Scotties’ lead to 36-31 with 2:14 to play.
That would prove to be the Lady Scotties’ final points of the contest.
Shiyanne Elkins buried a 3-pointer to cut the Lady Laker deficit to two before Star Marcum ripped baseline on the right side and floated a shot inside the cylinder to tie it at 36-all with 26 seconds to play, prompting a Lady Scottie timeout. Glasgow was fouled out of the timeout but missed the front end of the bonus and committed an over-the-back foul to send Marcum to the other end for bonus free throws as Marcum made both to put the Lady Lakers in front for the first time. Glasgow missed on the other end, and Jillian Bault made two free throws with two seconds remaining to lift the Lady Lakers to the stunning victory.
Marcum led Russell County in the win with 16 points and eight rebounds while Elkins and Shearer had eight points apiece. Meanwhile Glasgow was led in the loss by Page with 17 points as she was the Lady Scotties’ only scorer in double figures. The Lady Lakers did an excellent job limiting Glasgow’s dynamic duo Ashanti Gore and Anzley Adwell to just 12 points combined.
The Lady Lakers will now seek their first region title game appearance since 2017 when they play Bowling Green in the semifinals on Friday night. The Lady Purples—who lost to Russell County 43-42 in Russell Springs in the final game of the regular season—advanced with a 61-29 victory over Russellville.
“We just got to come out and play our game,” Blankenship said. “We know we can beat them, but on the other side they know we’ve beaten them and they’ll be ready. Whatever happens happens. If we play hard and do what we’re supposed to do, we’ll just have to live with the results.”
Russell County 40, Glasgow 36
Russell Co. 3 6 12 19 –40
Glasgow 10 7 10 9 –36
Russell County (40): Star Marcum 16, Shiaynne Elkins 8, Sophie Shearer 8, Jillian Bault 6, Maleah Preston 2.
Glasgow (36): Dynasti Page 17, Ashanti Gore 9, Kayla Bradley 5, Anzley Adwell 3, Nina McMurtrey 2.