Allison Gida had 16 points and eight steals in the first half and Ashland's full-court press defense flirted with second-quarter shutout as the Grizzlies humbled Eagle Point 60-19 Friday at Mountain Avenue Gym.
Katie Shulenberger added 12 points and Willie Michiels added nine points and four rebounds for the sixth-ranked Grizzlies (12-5), who remained undefeated (4-0) in Southern Sky Conference play through the first of the league's three round-robins.
The Grizzlies put the game out of reach in a hurry, burying the Eagles (3-11, 1-4 SSC) under a mountain of steals and fastbreak layups. Gida scored 11 points in the first quarter as Ashland went up 22-4, and the game quickly got out of hand in the second, when the Eagles managed a single point on a free throw by Shauntel Rodgers with 3:10 to go.
It got worse for the road team. Ashland responded with a seven-point run to take a 35-5 lead into the break, then scored the first six points of the third quarter to go up 41-5.
"We knew that if we played aggressive on the press, it would bother them, so we wanted to do it in the first half," Ashland head coach Tom McCracken said.
McCracken emptied his bench, rested Gida and called off the press in the second half, and the Grizzlies wound up with one of their most balanced offensive efforts of the season. Eight Grizzlies scored and everybody on the varsity roster played. Michiels was particularly effective in the fourth quarter, scoring seven. Ashland also got eight points out of Katie Patton and seven from Callie McCoy.
"In the second half we were able to play our four (junior varsity/varsity) swing players and they did a pretty good job," McCracken said. "They took care of the basketball and were able to get the ball into (Michiels), and (Michiels) did a pretty good job."
The 6-foot-2 junior said that the Grizzlies use a little trick to stay motivated against lesser competition.
"We play every single game like we're playing against Crater and we're coming out hard so we can get better when we go against Crater," Michiels said.The win sends the Grizzlies streaking into Saturday's showdown with the No. 11 Comets, the most serious threat to Ashland's league title hopes. The Grizzlies, who beat Crater 47-44 on Jan. 5, have won five in a row and nine of their last 10 since starting the season 3-4.
"It is a big game (Saturday) night, and they know that," McCracken said. "(The Comets are) a good basketball team, they're a very good basketball team. They've got some outstanding players so it should be fun."
Jordan Henderson led Eagle Point with five points and four more Eagles scored three points. Eagle Point lost for the 10th time in 11 games since starting the season 2-1.
EAGLE POINT (19) — S. Rodgers 3, Henderson 5, C. Rodgers 3, Hunsley 3, McCready 3, Morris 2, Richardson 0, Snow 0. Totals: 6 6-13 19.
ASHLAND (60) — Shulenberger 12, Sturges 2, Kasiah 2, Pavlich 4, Patton 8, Gida 16, Michiels 9, McCoy 7, Van Vleck 0, Minor 0, Reynolds 0. Totals: 24 11-17 60.
Eagle Point 4 1 5 9 — 19
Ashland 22 13 10 15 — 60
3-point goals - Eagle Point 1 (Hunsley 1), Ashland 1 (Gida). Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none.
JV result - Ashland won.