Prep Basketball: Boyle County girls knock off Danville 52-49
Boyle County freshman Cami Holton (30) celebrates after the Rebels rallied in the final minutes Tuesday to beat 45th District rival Danville 52-49. Holton had nine points and a career-high 15 rebounds. She also hit two free throws with 4.2 seconds to play. (Clay Jackson / January 9, 2013)
The Rebels had every opportunity to fold against a Danville team most of them had never beaten, but there they were Tuesday night, celebrating a win that was also a significant milestone in their maturation process.
Boyle scored the last six points to defeat Danville 52-49 at Rebel Arena, ending a five-game losing streak since the Rebels’ last win over the Admirals on Jan. 8, 2010 — three years ago to the day.
The Rebels overcame an astronomical number of turnovers, had three freshmen on the floor when the game was on the line — all of whom made big plays in the closing seconds — and had to survive one last attempt by Danville to tie the game at the buzzer before they could celebrate.
“Just the fact that we were able to really have some adversity tonight — late in the game we had some turnovers that hurt us a little bit — and we kept our composure,” Boyle coach Greg Edwards said.
Center Cami Holton, one of the freshmen who was in the spotlight late in the game, agreed that the win was a big step forward for Boyle, which lost to Danville by 41 and 19 points last year and had lost the teams’ last five meetings by an average of 29.8 points.
“Last year Danville beat us by a lot, and this year we won,” Holton said. “We’re putting out our statement.”
The game was in Holton’s hands with 4.2 seconds remaining, when she sank two free throws that pushed the margin from one point to three.
“I had a lot of pressure on me. I could feel everybody watching me, and I looked up at the student section, and I heard people (stomping) their feet on the Danville side. It made me so nervous,” she said.
Holton’s free throws helped Boyle (9-5, 2-0 45th District) prevail. The margin was at four points or less for all but about one minute, and there were eight ties and 14 lead changes.
Danville (8-6, 0-2) led 49-46 before Boyle’s Hannah Harris hit one of two free throws with 1:13 to play. Chelsea Gill rebounded her miss and drew a foul, and freshman Marlee Smith rebounded a Gill miss, leading to a layup by another freshman, Allison Hall, that tied the game at :54. Smith then stole the ball and got it to Harris, who again hit one of two free throws to put Boyle up 50-49 with 44 seconds left.
Danville’s Jordan Leavell missed two free throws at :32, but teammate Cameron McPherson got a steal at :25, then missed a 3-point shot at :05 that would have given the Admirals the lead. After Holton secured the rebound and sank her free throws, a 3-point attempt before the buzzer by Danville’s Alyvia Walker fell short.
Edwards said he’s certain Boyle couldn’t have won a game like this last year.
“There’s no question that we’ve come a long way in 365 days,” he said. “For one thing, we’re a year older and we’ve had one more year of playing together, and we’ve got great chemistry here on this team. The girls really like each other, and it shows out on the court.”
Boyle won despite committing 31 turnovers. That was in part because Danville shot just 27 percent from the field.
“We just couldn’t make shots. How many layups did we miss in a row there at the end when we had to go, and then shooting air balls from 3?” Danville coach Judie Mason said. “I thought we played scared tonight, and I don’t know why, because like I told them, this is a game for fun, anyway.”
The fourth quarter belonged to Boyle, which went 4-for-6 from the field, held Danville to 3-for-18 shooting and outrebounded the Admirals 14-5. The Rebels dominated the boards overall, outrebounding Danville 52-30.
“Rebounding was the most important thing, because the Gray twins and Jordan, they all like to get rebounds and put it straight back up or get fouled, and if we didn’t get the rebounds we would have gotten in foul trouble,” Holton said.
Holton had 11 rebounds in the second half and finished with a career-high 15 boards. Smith added nine rebounds, Harris had seven and Dee Foster had six.
Smith led Boyle in scoring with 14 points.
“Marlee just played an unbelieveable game,” Edwards said. “Everybody we played tonight did some good things, and that’s what we try to strive for, to get everybody that comes in to make some type of contribution.”
Young and McPherson scored 14 points each and Leavell had eight rebounds for Danville, which has lost four in a row since upsetting Sacred Heart on Dec. 27.
“We’re just not playing well,” Mason said. “Our defense is what’s killing us. It was just layup after layup, and that’s what it’s been for the last four games, and that’s why we’ve lost the last four games.”
“To get a win against a team that Judie coaches is just awesome. I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for her and her program and all the things she’s done, not just at Danville, but everywhere she’s been,” Edwards said.
Holton said players on both sides get along well — Danville’s Kasey Young is her cousin — but she said it feels good to be on the winning side for a change.
“We all kid around with each other, but winning this is probably the highlight of my basketball career,” she said. “We beat them in middle school some, but beating them in high school has made my day.”
Danville 14 27 43 49
Boyle County 14 26 40 52
DANVILLE (8-6) — Laken Grey 3, Kasey Young 14, Jordan Leavell 4, Cameron McPherson 14, Essence Grey 12, Alyvia Walker 2.
BOYLE (9-5) — Dee Foster 6, Cami Holton 9, Hannah Harris 10, Chelsea Gill 6, Marlee Smith 14, Emmie Harris 3, Allison Hall 4.