February 4th, 2011

Strong Start Leads to Rocket Rout

Michael Shaw Mahoney

CSN Staff Writer


Strong Start Leads to Rocket Rout
photo courtesy Jeff Hartlage

Assumption cruises to big win over district rival  

Sometimes an early scoring spurt does the trick. Facing off against district rival Atherton last night, the Assumption Rockets went on an early run, scoring 14 points in three minutes time. They all but buried the Lady Rebels in the first quarter and went on to win 71-35.

"It was a good win for us because Atherton is in our district, and it's good for our seeding," said Assumption senior Maggie Hartlage. "What we really wanted to focus on was our game and handling our business."

The Rockets were certainly all business in the first quarter. Leading 8-3 with 3:08 left in the opening period, Assumption scored 7 field goals in the blink of an eye. Hartlage slipped behind the defense, caught a quick zip pass, and made a lay-up to start the run. When center Kelsey Kaiser bulled her way into the paint to put Assumption up by double digits, a blowout was in the making.

Atherton's impatience and lack of half-court offense played into Assumption's hands, allowing the Rockets to get out fast on the break. The Rockets were up 22-5 by the end of the first quarter and never had to fend off a comeback by their outmatched opponents.

Coach Stephanie Greathouse made some wholesale substitutions in the second quarter, giving her bench some substantial playing time. Greathouse, who will be inducted into the Kentucky Basketball Coaches Walk of Honor this spring, saw her Rockets entering an orbit of inertia. "Everybody's standing around," she told her players while making a rare foray to the sideline from her seat.

With some starters reinserted, the Rockets padded their lead. The durable guard Dee Dee Sliter made a beautiful half-court pass to forward Morgan Foley who converted uncontested, and only the scrappy play of Atherton's point guard Addison Murphy prevented the Rockets from having their way all over the court. Murphy's jumper with 40 seconds left in the half was certainly just reward for all her hard work. At the half Assumption led 42-16.

The Rockets stuck to their game plan in the second half. Forward Katie Friedrich made a powerful move to the hoop at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and Kelsey Kaiser, not a one-dimensional center by any means, squared up just inside the arc and hit nothing but net. Alyx White closed out Assumption's scoring with a neat bit of solo play, following a field goal with a graceful three pointer.

The Rockets' victory helped numb the sting of their recent loss to DuPont Manual in the Girls Louisville Invitational Tournament. Though disappointed to lose a second time to the Crimsons this season, the girls were encouraged by their improvement. "There was a lot of pressure," Dee Dee Sliter remembers, "But we played so much better, our attitude was different and we knew we had a chance to beat them and that we played our hearts out."

Assumption has a challenging week ahead. They play Christian Academy at home on Monday night as part of Senior Night, then Lexington Catholic on Friday before traveling to Ohio on Saturday to play in the Centerville Classic in a "Battle of the Borders." Maggie Hartlage knows that Coach Greathouse is preparing them well.

"We've been working hard on fundamentals in practice because fundamentals win you games," Hartlage attests. "Then we work on team play - what we like to do is Cut-Throat Three-On-Three, which really puts us in a game situation. Sometimes it gets a little intense." The Rockets will definitely need that intensity in the tough week to come.    

 

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