Man's Jace Baisden (24) looks to pass during the second half of the Lady Hillbillies 53-34 loss last Thursday to Tolsia. (Photo by Bill Lusk/WVOW Sports).
MAN Kerigan Salmons scored 23 points and Emily Artrip added 11 as Class A No. 9 Tolsia defeated the Man Lady Hillbillies 53-34 last Thursday night at the Man Memorial Fieldhouse.
The Lady Rebels never trailed in the contest and after Man’s Tori Honaker sank a free throw knotting the score, 1-1, with 7:41 to play in the opening quarter, the Lady Rebels went on a 13-2 run and led 14-3 on Autumn Block’s jumper with 3:18 to play in the opening quarter.
Tolsia would eventually led 21-9 after one quarter and stretch its lead to 14 points, 33-19, after two quarters of play. The Lady Rebels lead reached as many as 22 points in the second half as they won their third straight contest to improve to 7-4 on the year.
Tolsia coach Ric Morrone said the first quarter was one of the better starts his young club has had all season.
“Always happy to go on the road and get a win against a tough sectional opponent, Coach (Copeland) does a great job and they are really aggressive and they play physical,” Morrone said. “I thought we got off to a good start and that first quarter was one of the better we played. Our pressure was getting to them, our rotations broke down and we got into a little bit of foul trouble. Down the stretch we were able to hold on, we didn’t do a lot of flashy stuff, but it was good enough to get a win. When you are 6-4 and able to play on the record and get a win, we are not going to be unhappy, but we got a lot to work on for sure.”
Despite falling behind by as many as 15 points in the first half, the Lady Hillbillies strung together a rally to draw to within nine points, 24-15, on Jace Baisden’s basket with 3:12 remaining before halftime. The basket capped a 6-0 Man run.
Man coach Brad Copeland, while pleased with his team’s effort, attributed the Lady Rebels first quarter start to his team’s lack of rotation on the defensive end.
“Rotation on our defense killed us in the first quarter, we just weren’t getting back in the position, we were leaving our home and they were hitting us down low and then they hit a couple of 3’s on us,” Copeland said. “At the end of the first half we started playing them harder, in the second half we came back, started playing some pretty good defense and kept it steady the rest of the game.”
Salmons made seven field goals and knocked down two of Tolsia’s three 3-pointers to lead all scorers with 23 points. Artrip had three field goals and was 5 of 10 from the free throw line, Block on nine points and Amber Stevens five for the Lady Rebels.
“We are a fairly young team, we have a couple of seniors that start for us, Autumn Block and Kerigan Salmons, a lot of people know about them, and they are two of the best players in single-A in my opinion,” Morrone said. “We have some good role players; we have some young players that are having to learn on the job. We lost four seniors off last year’s squad and we have been trying to bring them along slow.”
Tolsia, a team comprised of four upper classmen and seven lower classmen including a pair of freshmen who have played significant minutes, made 18 field goals, was 14 of 26 from the free throw line and committed 15 turnovers.
“I told these freshmen that I hate to have to throw you into the fire, but there are two of them, Jacey Crum and Kilee Preece, that have been in our rotation all year,” Morrone said. “I see progress in Amber Stevens in her first year of varsity and she is getting better every day. We are a work in progress, but the key word there is work and we got to get it done.”
Jace Baisden had nine points to lead Man. Honaker had seven points, Jenna Baisden six points and Kami Anderson and Megan McCoy five points each for the Lady Hillbillies, who made 12 field goals and shot 9 of 23 from the free throw line.
Copeland, who was hired as head coach in mid-December, said he show strides and improvement in his Lady Hillbilly squad that hasn’t been on the court in over two years due to COVID concerns in 2021 and a lack of players in 2022.
“We made a couple of steps forward tonight, we are starting to make a little bit of ground on some things, and we looked like we had been on the basketball court instead of being off of it for three years,” Copeland said. “All I ask for them is to get better each and every game, every practice and come out here and be better than what they were yesterday. We got a long way to go but they are making some strides and I am proud of them.”
“Mentally they played a really good game, but we got to cut down on some mistakes and do better some other things better and we will be getting there,” Copeland said.
Man turned the ball over 24 times, which Copeland attributes to poor judgement decisions, a lack of court time and mental errors.
“Just making some bad mistakes on our passing. We are still trying to throw it through people’s hands, we are trying to make up our mind about what we want to do with the ball before we see what is open.” Copeland said. “We did have some passing though and like I told them we did have some moments of brilliance, but we need those moments of brilliance to turn into expectations.”
Man, now 1-7 on the year, will look to snap a five-game losing streak Wednesday evening at Van in a makeup of a contest that was rescheduled due to illness. The Lady Hillbillies will return home Friday night against the same Lady Bulldog squad, who also happens to be in Man’s section along with Tug Valley, Tolsia and Sherman.
“I am looking forward to getting over there and hopefully we get to play at Van, and they got the team ready to go and our team is ready to go,” Copeland said. “I am proud of my girls they are making some progress. Can’t expect them to be great all at once, we are building on it, and we are going to build this program.”
“Looking forward down the road, I am excited to be here, excited for these girls, we are excited to be together, and looking forward to the future,” Copeland said.
Tolsia 53, Man 34
Artrip 3 5-10 11, Young 0 1-2 1, Block 4 0-0 9, Salmons 7 7-10 23, Stevens 2 1-4 5, Crum 2 0-0 4.
Totals: 18 14-26 53.
Honaker 1 4-8 7, Anderson 2 1-5 5, Baisden, Ja. 3 2-4 9, Baisden, Je. 3 0-0 6, McCoy 2 1-4 5, Rozzell 1 1-2 3.
Totals: 12 9-23 34.
Tolsia 21 12 15 5- 53
Man 9 10 11 4- 34
3-Point Field Goals_Tolsia 3 (Block, Salmons 2), Man 1 (Baisden, Ja.)