Mercer girls capture Florida title

Lincoln, Burgin and Garrard win

December 22, 2004

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. - The Mercer County girls won the championship of The Rock Holiday Classic with a 70-47 victory over Naples (Fla.) Gulf Coast Tuesday night.

Erin Ashford hit five 3-point baskets and scored a game-high 19 points to lead Mercer (7-0) to its first invitational championship in its six seasons under coach Chris Souder.

Souder said he's proud of the championship and also that the Lady Scotties accomplished the other objective of their trip.

"We wanted to win the tournament, but we also wanted to have a good time," he said. "We wanted to create that team bond and togetherness, and I think we achieved that."

Mercer won its four games by an average of 19 points and never allowed any opponent to score more than 47.


That was all the Lady Scotties allowed Gulf Coast, a Class 6A school of more than 3,800 students, thanks to their trademark pressure defense.

"It's a little different brand of basketball down here. They're not used to the constant pressure," Souder said. "In the third quarter and early in the fourth we just put that run on where it was just steal after steal and kind of broke their backs."

Chelsea Goodman, who scored 16 points in the title game, was named the tournament's most valuable player.

"Chelsea just had a tremendous tournament," he said.

Claunch and Jillian Horn also made the all-tournament team.

Ashford was 5-for-5 from 3-point range against Gulf Coast. Erica Lee added 12 points and Claunch had nine.

Mercer hit 19 of 24 free throws.

GULF COAST - Bertran 4, Gildersleeve 4, Lange 19, Cebak 4, Dunfee 11, MacGregor 4, Bruce 1.

MERCER (7-0) - Chrystal Claunch 9, Chelsea Goodman 16, Erin Ashford 19, Sabrina Manning 5, Jillian Horn 7, Lindsey Alford 2, Erica Lee 12.

Lincoln County 41, George Rogers Clark 40 - At Berea, Jenny Ralston scored the winning basket with 16 seconds left to lift Lincoln (5-5) over Clark (4-5) for fifth place in the Berea Holiday Classic's Tournament B.

Lincoln lost the 37-29 lead it held early in the fourth quarter when Clark hit three straight 3-pointers, and the Lady Cardinals led 40-37 before Lincoln rallied.

After Ralston's basket, Clark took a timeout at :08, and the Lincoln defense forced a jump ball with three-tenths of a second left, leaving Clark no time for a final shot.

Ralston had 11 points on 5-for-10 shooting, along with six rebounds and two assists. Shawna Noakes had a game-high 14 rebounds.

Pitts was named to the all-tournament team.

Lincoln shot 36 percent (16-for-45) from the field and outrebouned Clark 38-27. Clark shot 34 percent (15-for-44) from the field and hit only five of 13 free throws, with seven of its misses coming in the fourth quarter.

CLARK (4-5) - Brandy Grimes 8, Ashley Hewson 14, Ashley Knowles 2, Austina McCaffrey 4, Rossy Nugent 10, Adrian Cates 2.

LINCOLN (5-5) - Jenny Ralston 11, Megan Pitts 10, Jenny Jones 3, Shawna Noakes 10, Lindsay Long 2, Kendra Garris 3, Jessica Ryan 2.

Burgin 68, Model 67, OT - At Berea, Ann Harris scored on a putback with two seconds left to give Burgin (7-5) a win over Model (3-6) in the 11th-place game of the Berea Holiday Classic's Tournament B.

The Lady Bulldogs survived after three players fouled out and Amanda Carey left with an ankle injury. Clara Sanders hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer at the end of regulation.

Burgin shot 39 percent (22-for-57) from the field but hit only 18 of 35 free throws.

Stephanie Stewart had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Lady Bulldogs, who lost 45-37 at Model on Dec. 8. Taylor Bottoms had 16 points, and Harris had eight rebounds.

BURGIN (7-5) - Ann Harris 13, Amanda Carey 5, Ericka Waggener 2, Taylor Bottoms 16, Michelle Myers 3, Stephanie Stewart 18, Meredith Lear 2, Clara Sanders 7, Allison Burke 2.

Garrard County 57, Monticello 42 - At Russell Springs, Garrard (4-4) cruised to a win in the second round of the Wendy's Holiday Classic at Russell County after holding Monticello (4-4) to two points in the first quarter.

Abby Parsons led the Lady Lions with 12 points.

GARRARD (4-4) - Parsons 12, Denny 5, A. Meadows 10, Logan 10, Cole 7, Rothwell 2, Napier 7, Prather 1, E. Meadows 3.

MONTICELLO (4-4) - Dehring 11, Casada 2, Bristow 9, Denny 4, Adams 15, Cooper 1.

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