UTICA — After a bit of a sloppy start Thursday, the Utica girls basketball team tightened things up in the second half against East Knox.
The Redskins trailed by six at halftime, but used a couple of runs, including a 14-0 run in the fourth quarter, to pull out a hard-fought 61-55 Mid-Buckeye Conference victory over the visiting Bulldogs.
Gray released from hospital
MOUNT VERNON — East Knox basketball player Hayley Gray was released overnight after being treated for head and neck trauma on Thursday.
Gray was injured while diving for a loose ball and knocking heads with another player.
She left the court on her feet but later left the gym on a stretcher and taken to a hospital.
“It was very scary,” said East Knox head coach Jim Davis. “She was in a lot of pain. They brought her in (the E.R.) on an IV. She came out later feeling better.”
Davis said CAT scans were negative. However, he still isn’t ruling out concussion.
After the hit, Gray complained that she couldn’t open her eyes because it was too bright in the gym.
“I think it was a combination of the third and fourth quarters,” said Utica coach Michelle Snow. “We talked at the half about playing with a purpose and taking care of the basketball. We had 15 turnovers in the first half. You can’t do that and expect to win.”
Trailing by two with 5:45 left in the game, Utica (5-3 overall, 4-1 MBC) got two big three-pointers from Tory Minton to spark the 14-0 run that, essentially, put the game away. The Redskins canned 8 of 11 free throws down the stretch to seal it.
After watching its leader, Hayley Gray, be taken off the floor with a head and neck injury late in the first quarter, it was East Knox that came out with a purpose. Gray had crashed into Utica’s Kelly Overton as both players dove for a loose ball.
The Bulldogs (5-3, 3-2) went on a 22-9 run after Gray’s departure. Danielle Totten, Josie Burwell, Desiree Cottrell and Jade Burwell all stepped up and hit big shots during the run.
“Losing Haley really hurt us. She’s our leading scorer, our leader in assists and our leader,” said East Knox coach Jim Davis. “The kids really put their hearts on the line. I’m proud of them.”
“East Knox played with a purpose tonight,” said Snow. “They were concerned and worried about their teammate, but they played hard. ... East Knox always plays hard for 32 minutes.”