Kentucky Girls' Sweet 16 notebook


Butler heats up along with Jeffries

When Tasia Jeffries’ shot started falling, Butler started clicking.

The freshman guard scored eight consecutive points, including two 3-pointers, midway through the third quarter to turn a three-point deficit into a five-point lead and spark the Bearettes to a 54-52 victory over Newport Central Catholic on Wednesday in the first round of the Houchens Industries/KHSAA Sweet 16.

Jeffries was scoreless and missed her only shot of the first half, then stepped up to score 11 after halftime.

“I’ve been working on my shot, and it just kept falling in the third quarter,” she said. “We know we have to make plays, and we had to make plays in the third quarter. I just happened to be the one to make them.”

Butler’s offense had hit a rut for most of the second quarter and the start of the third as NewCath seized a 32-29 lead.

Jeffries, shaking off the nerves that had plagued the young Bearettes, then connected on a 3-pointer, a 2-point jumper and another three. Butler did trail once more, at 38-37, but Jeffries’ baskets had been key to turning the tide.

“I was definitely nervous, but I think that once I got on the floor, I just calmed down a little bit and realized it was just another basketball game,” she said. “We’ve been in big basketball games before.”

NewCath coach George Stoll said he had watched four tapes on Butler and Jeffries had not made many shots in any of them. Still, it was no surprise to him that she executed when the Thoroughbreds left her open.

“She’s got a great-looking shot, and I knew she could shoot it,” he said. “She’s got that beautiful lefty shot.”

Danville’s going to miss Grey twins

Twins Essence and Laken Grey have put Danville girls’ basketball on the map. On Wednesday they helped the Lady Admirals win the school’s first-ever Sweet 16 game, beating Shelby Valley 52-48. Essence Grey, the 12th Region Player of the Year, had 14 points, six rebounds and four assists while struggling a bit from the field (4-of-15 shooting). Laken added nine points and two rebounds.

Judie Mason has coached the Greys since they were sixth-graders and said they’ve played major roles in turning around the program.

“Danville is going to remember these two for a long, long, long time,” Mason said.

Ashland’s Robinson picks Colorado

Ashland Blazer point guard Alexis Robinson became one of the state’s first juniors to commit to an NCAA Division I college in January when she chose Colorado after an unofficial visit to the Boulder campus.

“I just really loved it and loved the coaches,” she said after scoring nine points in Ashland’s 56-48 first-round victory over Henderson County. “When I got out there, I saw how beautiful it was. I was like, ‘Man, this is a great place.’ “

Robinson, a 2015 Miss Basketball candidate who is ranked the No. 45 junior nationally by All-Star Girls Report, chose the Buffaloes over West Virginia and Dayton primarily, although Louisville, Purdue and Mississippi also were under consideration. She said she made multiple unofficial visits to U of L.

— Jason Frakes and Steve Jones

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