Early on, it looked like Ashley Ridge was going to run away from Lexington to earn a victory in the second round of the Class AAAA girls basketball playoffs.
Sometimes, looks are deceiving. Lexington outscored Ashley Ridge, 32-22, in the second half to claim a 45-38 win.
“ I like to call us the comeback kids,” Lexington coach Mollie Goodrich said. “Sometimes we have a great start and sometimes we have a slow start, but when we do, we keep fighting and keep playing hard. Tonight, I thought we did really well on the boards, but we didn’t take care of the ball the best. Sometimes we just need to slow down a little. But I’m proud of their effort as a whole team.”
It wasn’t the finish Ashley Ridge coach Tron Grant wanted for the three seniors on his team, but the Swamp Foxes (18-6) made strides in their first season with Grant as their head coach. The 18 wins are an all-time high for the program, and this season marks the first time Ashley Ridge has advanced to the second round.
“We seemed nervous tonight and that is uncharacteristic of our team,” Grant said. “We made a lot of mistakes that we aren’t accustomed to making. We missed some easy opportunities, but give credit to Lexington for taking advantage of it. Overall, I’m proud of the girls and what we accomplished this season.”
Ashley Ridge jumped out to a 12-2 lead in the first quarter. The Swamp Foxes’ aggressive defense disrupted Lexington’s game and had the Wildcats throwing up desperation shots, some of which didn’t even come close to hitting their mark.
However, Lexington pulled it together in the second quarter and cut the led to 16-13 entering the half.
The Wildcats hit four three-point shots in the third quarter and had multiple old-fashioned three-point plays to take a 31-24 lead into the final quarter. Ashley Ridge had opportunities late in the game and kept battling, but missed some easy shots and had to resort to fouling in the final two minutes.
Lexington All-state player Destinee Langford led the way for the Wildcats, finishing with a game-high 21 points. Olivia Thompson added 9 points for Lexington.
Ashley Ridge All-state player Shamaria Myers led the Swamp Foxes with 16 points. Taighlor Solomon added 10 points for Ashley Ridge and senior Kelly Cousins added 6.