Highland Rallies For Win Over KC Lady Eagles
Highland sophomore sensation Ashton Luttrull took over in the final minutes of a non-conference home game with Knox County, lifting the Lady Cougars (4-4) to a come from behind 52-50 win. Luttrull scored all but four of Highland’s points during the final nine minutes.
Knox County (6-3) opened an 11 point lead as time ran down in the third quarter. Ashton Luttrull rose above the Lady Eagle defense and drained a long rang three ball at the third quarter buzzer.
Knox County took a 40-32 lead to the final eight minutes.
Highland shut down much of the Lady Eagle half court offense in the fourth period. Ashton Luttrull and Amber Ausmus exchanged holiday greetings from the three point arc early in the fourth quarter. Knox County paced a 43-35 margin with 7:30 to play in the final period.
“We ran a set play for that shot,” (at the end of the third quarter) Highland coach Brad Dance said. “The frustrating thing about that game was we didn’t come out ready to play.”
Highland turned the ball over 15 times in the first half and five times in the second. Knox County had 22 turnovers on the night according to courtside stats.
“We did a better job taking care of the ball in the second half,” Brad Dance said. “We were able to hang around and give ourselves a chance to win. We checked out. We got rebounds when we needed to.”
“We ran the floor and got some good looks. It was a great team effort.” Knox County sank shots and took advantage of Highland turnovers for an early 7-2 lead.
Stacey Leckbee’s 15 footer with two minutes remaining in the first quarter gave Knox County a 13-6 lead after eight minutes of play. Nicole Kraft and Kelsey Cahalan traded three balls early in the second period.
Ashton Luttrull’s three point play pulled Highland within an 18-16 deficit with 4:27 showing on the second quarter clock. Hannah Strange boosted the KCHS lead back to four points at the 3:24 mark.
Highland embarked on a 7-1 run to a 23-21 halftime lead. Nicole Kraft took Ashton Luttrull’s feed on a base line cut to Highland’s first edge of the night with 1:42 to play in the first half.
Hannah Strange tossed in a Knox County free throw, trimming the halftime score to 23-21 Highland. Knox County attacked the basket well in the third quarter, firing out on a 19-9 run to a 40-32 lead.
Hannah Strange scored eight of her 11 points in the third quarter. The Lady Eagles had an impressive streak during the last three minutes of the third quarter.
Amber Ausmus canned a three pointer for a 38-29 lead with 53 ticks on the clock. Hannah Strange cashed in an offensive rebound, sinking two Knox County free throws with 17 seconds remaining in the period for the 40-29 KC lead.
Ashton Luttrull’s three pointer at the buzzer was turning point in the game. The bomb changed a possible 11 point deficit to single digits.
Highland exploded on a 12-3 run to a 43-41 game when Ashton Luttrull finished a fast break. Knox County may have run out of gas at the end. Both teams were in foul trouble, mainly as the result of reaching fouls earlier in the contest.
Ashton Luttrull was perfect at the free throw line in the fourth quarter with a 9-9 effort. Highland sank 18-26 from the line for 69%. Knox County had one of their better nights from the charity stripe, going 15-22 for 68%.
Ashton Luttrull tied the game at 43 with a pair of free throws at the 3:47 mark. Kathleen Hinkle answered in kind eight seconds later. Knox County led 45-43.
Highland executed a nice looking back door cut. Ashton Luttrull bent several ways for a lay in and a three point play for a 46-45 Lady Cougar lead with 1:20 to play in the game. Hannah Dale fouled out on the play.
Knox County began holding the basketball with around five minutes to play in the fourth quarter. The move preserved what energy the Lady Eagles had left from their conference win over Scotland County two days hence.
The Lady Eagles could not answer Highland’s three point play. Chevie Wiseman sank two clutch free throws around the one minute mark for a 48-45 Lady Cougar edge.
Knox County’s cause was further damaged when Stacey Leckbee fouled out on the play. Devin Gudehus took advantage of a Highland mistake when she tossed in two free throws at the 52 second mark. The Lady Eagles crept back within a 48-47 deficit.
Ashton Luttrull tossed in two more pressure packed free throws with 25 seconds to play in the game for a 50-47 lead. Luttrull made another critical play when she stole the basketball and then sank two Highland free throws with 16 ticks on the clock.
Kathleen Hinkle stepped out and sank a wing three ball with seven seconds remaining in the game. Missed free throws gave Knox County a final chance. The teams battled to the end with Highland holding the 52-50 margin of victory.
“We have tasted both sides of this. We ended the Scotland County game with a 21-6 run and tonight Highland goes on a 23-7 run to end the game,” Knox County coach John Weaver said.
“We were aggressive in the third quarter, but in the fourth quarter we just went stagnant on offense,” Coach Weaver said. “We weren’t strong with the ball. We missed the front half of a one and one and we just weren’t able to stop them.”
“Ashton Luttrull knocked shots down and knocked free throws down. That Knox County defense we talk about just wasn’t there tonight. We are 6-3 at Christmas. It’s time to regroup and get ready for the second half of the season.”
Ashton Luttrull tossed a game high 30 Highland points. Nicole Kraft and Hali Luebbehusen added seven points each. Kathleen Hinkle paced the Lady Eagles with 13 points. Hannah Strange was in double digits with 11 points. Devin Gudehus hit twin figures with ten KCHS points.
Amber Ausmus scored six Knox County points. Stacey Leckbee put in four points. Hannah Dale and Kelsey Cahalan tossed in three points each.