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Lady Braves have tough road ahead

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By Matt Birkholtz

After suffering a disappointing defeat against Oldham County 80-63, Jan. 14 at Grant County High School, the Lady Braves will have to gear up for three district games this week, including county-rival Williamstown Jan. 24.

The Lady Braves (3-12) offense had its best output of the season scoring over 60 points for the first time, but was unable to handle the full-court pressure of Oldham County, being forced into turnovers at inopportune times.

For coach Darrell Guffey, even with the record not in the best shape, the team continues to improve going down the tough stretch.

“I am very proud of the girls and the direction of where we are going as a team,” he said. “We got great kids that come out to practice every day and practice hard. The basketball program is going in the right direction.”

In the next four games, the Lady Braves will face Walton-Verona twice (Jan. 20, Jan. 27). The Lady Bearcats just defeated the Lady Demons 45-25, to win the 8th Region All “A” Classic Jan. 15.

“We have got to continue to improve and get better in practice,” Guffey said. “That practice time allows us to focus in on what we need to improve. Anytime we have an immediate focus on something, we get better at it.”

Guffey added that there is “no rest for the weary” with the teams they face this week.

“The pressures we saw from Oldham County, is going to help us get ready for Walton-Verona,” he said. “We will match up a little bit better with Walton-Verona than we did against Oldham County.”

Lady Braves sophomore center Billie Hearn has shown a strong performance over the past few games by being the leading scorer for Grant County.

Hearn was frustrated with the loss, but hopes the Lady Braves will get back on track, including a home match with the Lady Demons.

“Oldham County just pressured the ball really well,” Hearn said. “We just couldn’t handle the pressure.”

With two quick fouls early in the game for Hearn and  Morgan McClure, Guffey had to go deeper into his rotation causing changes in a game plan for the Lady Braves.

“We were in such foul trouble that it negated our size,” he said. “When Billie and Morgan McClure were in foul trouble, we lost our size.”

Lady Braves junior guard Erica Stith knew the pressure was going to be there from Oldham County in preparation for the game.

“We went over it in practice,” she said. “We would pass through the pressure and dribble through it when we needed to and try not to allow it to affect us.”

In a rival match up Jan. 24 with Williamstown, the Lady Braves will focus on getting a tough win over the Lady Demons at home.

“I think we need to pressure Williamstown a little bit more than last time,” Stith said. “Also, we need to know where Tori Wilhoit and Chelsea West are at all times, because they are the two that like to score a lot. We will just need to come prepared.”

Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. and will be the girls’ Coaches vs. Cancer game.