BY AARON SNYDER
THE DAILY INDEPENDENT
GRAYSON When an errant pass cleared its intended target, Russell’s Madison Darnell changed direction, sped forward, gathered up the loose ball just ahead of Rowan County’s Promise Cross, switch hands for an underhand lay-in and drew a foul in the process.
That was the first of backto- back three-point plays for the guard amid a Russell windstorm.
The Lady Devils blew by Rowan County, 68-50, thanks to a splendid second quarter in the Eastern Kentucky Conference championship on Thursday at East Carter High School.
Russell defended its EKC crown in supreme fashion, blitzing by Bath County, East Carter and the Lady Vikings in the process.
Lady Devils coach Mandy Layne hopes it’s just the first of several titles last year’s 16th Region champion manages to retain.
“I think it was our first real test how we were going to handle being defending regional champs and, honestly, I think we handled it really well,” Layne said. “I call (the EKC event) the mini-regional tournament. We had to beat East Carter on their home floor to get here.”
Maggie Jachimczuk collected 22 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks and two thefts. Darnell tallied 17 points — all in the first half — and seven assists.
“I think they’re the best 1-2 combo in the region, with (Darnell) being the guard and Maggie in the post,” Layne said. “They’re playing really well right now.”
Ty Mitchell harassed Rowan County ballhandlers like a fly at a picnic. She came up with four steals as Russell turned Rowan County over 23 times.
“She really bothered them tonight,” Layne said. “It was really hard to make that first pass off the offense. … Her pressure is relentless.”
Mitchell also tossed in 10 points.
Russell (4-1) enjoyed a 12-2 run to close out the first half. Jachimczuk splashed in a 3-pointer at the horn to give the Lady Devils a 40-14 advantage.
“I thought the first quarter looked good,” said Rowan County coach Elaine Douglas, referring to an 11-7 deficit after eight minutes. “Russell is very experienced. That’s one thing this team lacks. We’ve only got one kid with any varsity experience.
“We’re going to make a lot of turnovers just because we’re young,” she added. “There’s nothing that can take the place of experience.”
Allyson Callahan netted a team-high 19 points for Rowan County (2-2). Angela Marcum had 11 points. Promise Cross chipped in 10.
ROWANCO. 7 7 16 20 — 50 RUSSELL 11291711—68
Rowan County (50) — K. Rose 4, Marcum 11, Cross 10, Callahan 19, Jones 6, Rogers, Blevins, Fielding, Grimshaw, Peyton, Purdy, H. Rose, Ricer. 3-Pt. FG: 3 (Cross, Callahan 2). FT: 11-14. PF: 10. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 23.
Russell (68) — Mitchell 10, Darnell 17, Maynard 8, Michael 7, Jachimczuk 22, Morris 2, Ross, Sanders 2, Andre, Blevins. 3-Pt. FG: 4 (Maynard 2, Michael, Jachimczuk). FT: 8-9. PF: 13. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 16.
Russell’s Madison Darnell flies toward the basket for a shot after tripping against Rowan County on Thursday night in Grayson.
KEVIN GOLDY | THE DAILY INDEPENDENT