Howard sparks Jackson to victory

Friday, December 14, 2007
Jackson senior Kelci Keith split three Perryville defenders as she drove to the basket during Thursday's game in Jackson. (Kit Doyle)

The Indians improved to 3-2 with a 66-51 win over Perryville.

JACKSON -- Ashten Howard said Jackson coach Sam Sides employs a simple philosophy on when to take shots.

"He's a real good believer in that if you're open, to keep shooting, especially when you're on," Howard said. "Keep shooting and it will fall."

Howard was open often and kept shooting the basketball Thursday night at home against Perryville.

And her shots were falling.

Jackson sophomore Cassandra Bollinger went up for a shot against Perryville's Alyssa Bauwens on Thursday at Jackson High School. (Kit Doyle)

Howard scored a game-high 19 points, including four 3-pointers in seven attempts, to help the Indians to a 66-51 win over the Pirates.

Howard also led her team with 15 rebounds.

The Indians improved to 3-2, while Perryville dropped to 1-2.

Howard, who played mostly junior varsity last season before receiving some minutes in the postseason, said Thursday's game was the best she has shot this season. But some teammates would disagree, saying Howard has been consistent from 3-point range all season.

"I think she's hit a lot more 3s than she thinks she has," said Jackson sophomore Whitney McNeely, who played AAU summer ball with Howard. "We look for Ashten a lot at the 3-point line. She's got a great shot. She usually plays guard, so she's great inside and outside."

The lead went back and forth for the entire first half.

Howard scored eight in the first quarter, helping the Indians to an early lead. She drained a 3-pointer just a couple seconds into the game to put her team up 3-0. A couple of minutes later, she grabbed an offensive rebound and laid it back up to give Jackson a 7-4 advantage. She then netted a 3-pointer from the corner with four minutes remaining in the first quarter.

Despite Howard's strong play, the Indians trailed 15-13 after the first quarter.

Howard started the second quarter on the bench, but she returned to floor about 1 minute, 30 seconds later, and right away drained a 3-pointer for a 22-18 lead. From there, the lead continued to bounce back and forth and Jackson went into halftime up 32-29.

Howard said the game remained close because her team failed to get back on defense. The Indians out-rebounded the Pirates 38-21.

"We were getting beat off screens, and we were not helping off very well," she said. "They were kind of running us and we weren't ready for it."

Perryville's Kendra Schilli, who was assigned at times to stop Howard, said the Pirates should have done a better job containing Howard.

"She's easy to stop if you play tight D," she said. "For a big girl, she didn't play a lot of inside, so she was not really hard to guard. All she did was on the 3-point line. It should have been easy to stop. Hopefully we see them again."


Perryville (51) -- Alicia Kueker, 10, Ava Johnson, 13, Nicole Gremaud, 6, Kendra Schilli, 8, Alyssa Bauwens, 10, Makenzie Schirmer, 4. FG: 20. FT: 7-13 F: 25. (3-pointers: Kueker, 1, Gremaud, 2, Schilli 1.

Jackson (66)-- Kaylen Knepp, 5, Cody Goodpasture, 6, Cassandra Bollinger, 12, Ashten Howard, 19, Whitney McNeely, 14, Kelci Keith, 10. FG: 18. FT: 25-35 F: 18. (3-pointers: Howard, 3, Keith 1.

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