Prep Basketball: Casey girls take lessons from loss to Marion
Sarah Beard (1) of Casey County sets a screen as teammate Lakken Miller turns the ball over to Marion County¿s Kyvin Goodin-Rogers during the Rebels¿ 72-35 loss Saturday. (Mike Marsee / December 2, 2012)
The host Rebels were never in their game against Marion County, and their 72-35 loss was their largest defeat in three years.
Coach Randy Salyers has never shied away from tough competition, however, and Marion, last year’s state runner-up and the No. 1-ranked team in the Bluegrasspreps.com preseason rankings, is as tough as they come.
“They’re probably the best team that we’ve played in the last three or four years, a very good team,” Salyers said. “But the main purpose for us is to make us better. That’s our goal, and that’s what we’re shooting for.”
And he said the Rebels met that goal in this game.
“We gained some things, just strictly because of the pace of play of the game. If they make us work harder, then that’s going to help us somewhere, and that’s the main thing,” he said.
Casey has played Marion in three of the last four seasons, and the margin Saturday was its largest margin of defeat since a 77-39 loss to the Knights in December 2009.
But Salyers said his team’s effort was good, just as he expected it would be.
“I can’t fault our kids’ effort. I know we’ll play,” he said.
Still, it became clear right away where this game was headed. Marion (3-0) scored 12 straight points to break away from a 2-all tie, with Kentucky signees Makayla Epps and Kyvin Goodin-Rogers scoring five each during the run.
Epps nearly outscored Casey by herself, scoring 30 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field. Goodin-Rogers scored 10 points in the first quarter and finished with 12. Neither played in the fourth quarter.
Lakken Miller scored 13 points and Tiara Cochran added 12 for Casey (1-2), but only two other Rebels scored.
Meanwhile, the Casey turnovers came in droves against the Knights’ pressure. The Rebels had almost as many turnovers (10) as field-goal attempts (11) in the first quarter, and they had 16 turnovers in the first half and 24 in all.
“We were just concentrating on two things, that was trying to keep our turnovers down and trying to keep them off the boards,” Salyers said. “For the most part I felt like we kept them off the boards, but the turnovers were another matter. We still had way too many turnovers.”
Marion (3-0) scored eight points off turnovers during a 12-2 run in the second-quarter that left Casey (1-2) trailing 41-19.
The Knights scored the last nine points of the first half and eight in a row early in the second half to take a 62-28 lead, and their next basket, the last of four 3-point goals by Epps, pushed the margin to 35 points and triggered the new running-clock rule.
Jasmine Johnson saw her first action of the season for Casey in the fourth quarter, though she did not score. The senior guard missed the Rebels’ first two games with a bruised knee.
Alexus Calhoun scored 14 points for Marion, which shot 55 percent from the field to Casey’s 39 percent.
“They’re very athletic. To be honest with you, I don’t see any weaknesses with their team. They played hard on the defensive end, and they shot the ball well today. If they can shoot the ball well from the outside, it opens up things for them inside,” Salyers said.
Salyers said he’ll be pulling for Marion to win the state championship — assuming his team can’t do it.
“I always pull for the schools in and around this area, and I think they’re the best team in the state, and I hope they win it,” he said.
Marion County 26 52 69 72
Casey County 15 24 30 35
MARION (3-0) — Logan Powell 8, Kyvin Goodin-Rogers 12, Alexus Calhoun 14, Makayla Epps 30, Patrice Tonge 8.
CASEY (1-2) — Katie Douglas 7, Sarah Beard 3, Tiara Cochran 12, Lakken Miller 13.