Handling ball pressure key for Lady Bears

Bracken County will get another shot to show it can prove they can handle ball pressure.

In their district championship matchup with Mason County Thursday, they didn’t fare so well as they committed 28 turnovers in a 71-21 loss.

Now comes an even stiffer test in Campbell County.

“I think you have to be able to handle their pressure full court and once we get it across half court we have to get ourselves in a position to be successful,” Lady Bears coach Sam Elsbernd said.

Tempo will be vital for the Lady Bears to help contain a Lady Camels team that is third in the state in scoring with 72.9 points per game.

“They’re good enough to put up points in a hurry. It worries me when they make those runs and how we handle it,” Elsbernd said.

There lies another key factor for the Lady Bears, putting the ball in the hole themselves. They come into the 10th Region tournament averaging 47.5 points per game, lowest among the tournament field.

Providing the sparks offensively will be the trio of Kinley Ruf, Kennedy Carl and Natalie Bell. Those three account for 32.7 points a night. Ruf is one of just two seniors on the team and a 1,000-point scorer, recently doing so on Feb. 15 against Lloyd Memorial. Carl is a junior who has been playing varsity since eighth grade while Bell has been a nice surprise for the Lady Bears this season, averaging just under 10 points a game.

Campbell also features a trio of players who fill it up nightly. Taylor Clos is a Miss Basketball candidate and the 10th Region Player of the Year, averaging 22.6 points per game. Mackenzie Schwarber brings size and averages nearly a double-double with 15.2 points and 8.8 rebounds a game. Alexis Stapleton shoots it well from the 3-point line and pours in 14.3 points a night.

“They’re athletic and have a lot of good players that can put the ball in the basket. They are a really skilled team,” Elsbernd said.

Sophomore guard Jaya Dawson will be important in helping contain the Lady Camel guards with her ball pressure.

If the Lady Bears can combat the defensive pressure Campbell will possess, the rebounding battle will be another key to compete. That’s where Aryah Myrick comes in to play.

Myrick has posted some monster rebounding games this season with multiple games of double-digit rebounds. She comes in averaging 8.2 rebounds a contest.

At 10-21 and going up against the No. 3 team in the state in the latest AP poll, it’s obvious the Lady Bears have their work cut out for them. Doesn’t mean they are going to lay down and fold though.

“I’ve been telling the girls it takes one night. It’s not a situation where you’re being based on paper and records all night, it’s one game, 32 minutes to be played on Monday and that’s all that really matters,” Elsbernd said.

Thursday’s game against Mason County gave them some early practice on what they’re going to face with the full court pressure, now it’s a matter if they can make the proper adjustments come Monday night at 7:30 p.m.

Even if the result doesn’t go in their favor, year one under Elsbernd after having four coaches in four years has moved them forward, a motto they’ve approached since the day he took the job.

“It’s been a good year, we’re trying to get more energy built up in the program. I feel like we’re going in the right direction and have played well at times,” Elsbernd said.

Monday’s David vs Goliath battle begins at 7:30 p.m., winner gets the George Rogers Clark-Nicholas County winner on Friday at 6 p.m. 

DATE; OPPONENT; SITE; RESULT

Nov. 27; Bishop Brossart; away; (L) 63-31

Nov. 30; Nicholas County; away; (L) 74-32

Dec. 2; St. Henry; away; (L) 56-21

Dec. 4; Newport; home; (L) 59-58 (OT)

Dec. 8; Boone County; home; (L) 77-49

Dec. 9; Highlands; at Newport; (L) 65-23; Donna Murphy Classic

Dec. 12; Mason County; home; (L) 65-30

Dec. 13; Lewis County; home; (W) 55-54

Dec. 19; Bath County; away; (W) 64-60

Dec. 27; Brown; at Frankfort; (L) 49-48; Christmas at the Capital Classic

Dec. 28; Atherton; at Frankfort; (W) 50-35; Christmas at the Capital Classic

Dec. 29; Frankfort; at Frankfort; (L) 60-49; Christmas at the Capital Classic

Jan. 4; Montgomery County; home; (L) 73-62

Jan. 6; Paris; at Nicholas County; (L) 54-46; 10th Region All “A” Classic

Jan. 18; Rowan County; home; (L) 78-49

Jan. 20; Dayton; home; (W) 56-54

Jan. 22; Williamstown; home; (W) 58-46

Jan. 24; Pendleton County; away; (W) 53-42

Jan. 25; Bourbon County; away; (L) 61-56

Jan. 27; Ludlow; home; (W) 62-59

Jan. 29; Robertson County; away; (W) 62-58

Feb. 1; Lewis County; away; (L) 78-61

Feb. 5; Walton-Verona; home; (L) 65-34

Feb. 8; Fleming County; home; (L) 68-66

Feb. 9; Grant County; home; (L) 75-37

Feb. 10; Paris; away; (L) 70-49

Feb. 15; Lloyd Memorial; away; (L) 78-39

Feb. 20; St. Patrick; Mason County; (W) 51-23; 39th District Tournament

Feb. 22; Mason County; away; (L) 71-21; 39th District Championship

Feb. 26; Campbell County; at Mason County; 7:30 PM; 10th Region Tournament

NO; NAME; POSITION; GRADE

2; Jaya Dawson; 5-6; G; So.

3; Kaitlyn Wills; 5-7; F; Sr.

4; Aryah Myrick; 5-6.5; F; So.

10; Kinley Ruf; 5-8; G; Sr.

11; Natalie Bell; 5-7; G; Jr.

12; Audrey Wright; 5-6; G; Fr.

13; Kylie Bishop; 5-5; F; Fr.

14; Bailey Mastin; 5-5; G; Fr.

15; Breanna Hamilton; 5-2; G; Jr.

21; Kennedy Carl; 5-6; G; Jr.

24; Sarah Crouch; 5-6; G; So.

25; Amy Craycraft; 5-5; F; Fr.

30; Madison Goecke; 5-8; F; Jr.

32; Gracie Taylor; 5-8; F; Fr.

44; Georganna Carpenter; 5-5; G; Fr.

45; Elena Insko; 5-8; F; So.

Head Coach: Sam Elsbernd

Assistants: Robert Myrick, Marsha Godman,

POINTS FOR: 1,473

POINTS ALLOWED: 1,866

POINTS PER GAME: 47.5

POINTS ALLOWED PER GAME: 60.1

FIELD GOAL %: N/A

3-POINT %: N/A

FREE THROW %: 59.7

REBOUNDS: 759

REBOUNDS PER GAME: 27.1