The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

February 6, 2014

Ashford aim: Playing best basketball

CLINTON — The Ashford Saints are trying to ride the wave of a winning streak, as all teams strive to do this time of the year. They found themselves at high tide Wednesday, defeating William Penn at home 85-74.

It wasn’t smooth sailing for the Saints, however, as they saw William Penn’s Kelly Madison score 33 points, 21 in the first half.

Ashford coach Oliver Drake knew that William Penn was going to be a tough challenge, but Ashford did what it needed to do to grab that 20th win.

“That’s a team who is really talented,” Drake, in his fourth season, said. “The two things I was most proud of is we defended the 3-point line really well; we knew that they could shoot the ball pretty much from anywhere. We also had to rebound really well, and they’re one of the best in the country at doing that.”

Even though the Saints did those things well, Drake wasn’t satisfied on how they played off Madison’s game.

“We didn’t do a good job of limiting his looks early,” Drake said. “When you give a good shooter open shots like that, he’ll go crazy and the basket gets a lot bigger.”

Ashford held the Statesmen to 29 percent shooting from beyond the 3-point arc, just below their season average of 34 percent.

The two teams got the same amount of rebounds (37), which was to Ashford’s advantage considering William Penn’s rebounds-a-game average is 46.

Even though Madison finished with 33 points, Ashford’s scoring was more balanced. Five Saints had double figures, led by Thaddeus Perry with 19 points on 7-for-9 shooting, nine rebounds and eight assists.

“He stepped up when we needed him most tonight,” Drake said. “He is very capable of playing like that every night, and we were very appreciative of what he did.”

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