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Henry Clay to provide tough test for Lady Rockets

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By Todd Martin

The SCHS girls' basketball team is riding a four-game winning streak where the Lady Rockets have won by an average margin of 20 points.

However, the schedule gets much tougher starting tonight against Henry Clay, ranked No. 16 in The Courier-Journal's Litkenhous rankings.

It may seem odd to see Henry Clay ranked higher than the Lady Rockets. The Lady Devils have a very modest record at 10-11, compared to the Lady Rockets' 17-7 record.

But SCHS head coach Sally Zimmerman said you can't focus on the record.

"Their record is very deceiving," Zimmerman said. "They took (No. 2) Dunbar to overtime and double overtime in two games, they played close with Scott County, played (No. 13) Lafayette within two points, and played (No. 5) Manual to within six points. So, obviously, they can play and they're good. They have all the tools, and they have all of their starting five back from last year."

Zimmerman said looking at records can be a dangerous game, and Henry Clay is the perfect example. Last year this same team went 20-7 before losing to eventual state champion Lexington Christian in the first round of a very tough district tournament.

"I think they've underachieved in their eyes, but I think they can contend in the 11th District, the toughest district in the state," she said.

The key for the Lady Rockets will be taking care of paint.

"They've got two very good post players in Gwen Rucker and Brittany Coles. Rucker (a senior) has great hands and can score inside or drive on you into the paint. Plus, she rebounds like crazy. And Coles, a junior, is outstanding in the post, but at the same time she can take you outside and beat you with the dribble. They're an incredibly athletic team that gets into the paint from every position."

Zimmerman said the Lady Rockets' play in the post from Jennica Garitty and Karissa Nicholson will be key.

"We've been working hard on our defense, clogging the lane and not letting teams get inside to get good looks," she said. "I think this game will be a nice challenge for Jennica and Karissa because these are going to be two of the nicest post players we'll see this year. We have to limit their second shots and play solid defense without fouling. We can't have Karissa and Jennica in foul trouble."

Beating Henry Clay's press will be another key for the Lady Rockets.

"They have nice guard play, and they'll use a 2-2-1 press and then drop into a 2-3 zone or man-to-man," the coach said. "If we beat the press, I think we can get good looks within our offense. We just have to take care of the ball and play smart."

Butler

The Lady Rockets' game scheduled for this past Monday against Butler was moved to this Monday night. However, that doesn't change the fact that Butler will bring Tia Gibbs, one of the best players in the state.

The game will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday, slowing down Gibbs will be the key.

"You have to make her beat you outside," Zimmerman said. "We have to try and keep her out of the paint, but that's easier said than done. She's very quick for her size (5-8). And they have a lot to go with her. They've got another big post player (Tiara Hopper) and another good guard (Brittany Harris). They're just a very, very good team."