Ashland girls start Brookins era with big win

When it was over, Emily Brookins looked as calm as a veteran head coach with 100 games under her belt, calmly shaking hands, gathering statistics and directing her team to the locker room.

Then she joined the players, closed the door and began her postgame speech with a shout that could be heard from the bleachers at Mountain Avenue Gym:

"That," Brookins announced, "is the way to do it, ladies!"

Yes, it was.

Junior guard Allison Shulenberger had 10 points and seven assists and junior guard Sarah Pavlich had 13 points and five rebounds as the Ashland High girls basketball team began the Emily Brookins era in style Friday with a 65-34 nonconference win over North Valley.

Ashland bolted out to a 14-4 lead and extended the cushion to 16 points late in the second quarter before running away in the second half for an easy season-opening victory.

"These girls are gelling," said Brookings, a former Crater High all-star who was hired in May, a week before graduating from Southern Oregon University. "They're laughing, they're joking, but when it's serious time, they know It's serious and it's time to focus."

Ashland certainly looked focused against the Knights, who struggled to contain Ashland post Willie Michiels early as the Grizzlies worked an inside-out game to take control.

Michiels scored nine of her 11 points in the first half, including five straight midway through the second quarter, giving Ashland a 28-10 lead.

When the North Valley defense collapsed, Michiels found spot up shooters open on the perimeter, where the Grizzlies drained three 3-pointers and several more wide-open jumpers from inside the arc.

"If the shots are inside, you take it inside," Brookins said. "Kickouts are the highest-percentage shots from outside. All of our threes were made on kickouts because they're already set, they're already ready and they're going to shoot it."

Rose Marston added seven points and two steals, and Shelby Minor six points, all in the first quarter, for the Grizzlies, who advanced to the Class 5A state semifinals last season. Of course, that team was led by Allison Gida, now a backup guard at Division I Utah. This team, Brookins said, may not have a top-tier talent like that, but is already showing signs of having great chemistry.

"We have a big post and we have shooters," she said. "We're just gelling together. We're working as a team, we're finding out what people do and we're just starting to click, and it's pretty exciting."

North Valley was led by senior post Jacquie Nicholson, who scored seven of her game-high 14 points in the second quarter. North Valley point guard Kenzie Schmoll added 11.

NORTH VALLEY (34) — Schmoll 11, Ellis 6, Gronholm 2, McElheran 1, Nicholson 14, Ford 0, Colangeli 0, Sanders 0. Totals: 12 10-18 34.

ASHLAND (65) — Shulenberger 10, Minor 6, Kasiah 5, Haynes 4, Cochrane 2, Fine 3, Zehren 2, Pavlich 13, Bottimore 2, Marston 7, Michiels 11, Thornton 0. Totals: 28 5-12 65.

North Valley 6 14 9 5 — 34

Ashland 16 18 17 13 — 65

3-point goals — North Valley, Ashland 3 (Shulenberger 1, Kasiah 1, Fine 1). Fouled out — none.

JV result — Ashland won.

Boys Basketball

Billy Hansen scored 17 of his game-high 32 points in the fourth quarter as Ashland overcame an eight-point deficit with three-and-a-half minutes to go to beat Soquel 58-54 in the Harlan Carter Tournament in Redding, Calif., Friday.

The win advances the Grizzlies to the consolation championship game today at 12:30 p.m.

Talon Heater scored nine points and Ethan Schlecht eight for the Grizzlies, who let a four-point halftime lead slip away in the third quarter.

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