LORDSTOWN - Thursday night's game between Lordstown and LaBrae came down to a race against time.
Not over the result of the contest - the Red Devils had that well in hand - but Vikings' senior Ashlee Stubbs' quest for 1,000 career points. Stubbs entered the game needing 21 points to surpass the milestone but only had 11 through three quarters.
While Lordstown was rolling to a 66-43 victory, LaBrae coach Lisa Aldridge sent her team on a fouling mission, sending the Red Devils to the line again and again in an effort to get her team the ball back. The tactic worked, as Stubbs came through with 11 points in the fourth quarter to finish the regular season with 1,001 career points.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
LaBrae’s Ashlee Stubbs, left, is all smiles as her teammates look on after making her 1,000th point on a free throw late in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s game at Lordstown.
"I started off playing varsity as a freshman and it was a new experience, but everyone made me feel real good," Stubbs said. "The nervousness wore off real quick. This was a real good experience for me to reach 1,000."
LaBrae coach Lisa Aldridge said Stubbs reached a milestone not often achieved at the school.
"Good kid. Good student. Works hard and I'm proud of her," Aldridge said. "She's my first player that's ever scored 1,000. Not too many kids at LaBrae have scored 1,000. Her and Peyton (Aldridge) actually did it in the same week. Peyton did it the other night and now she did it tonight."
With about 3 minutes to play and the game out of reach, the Vikings focused on getting the ball to Stubbs. She scored the last 11 points for LaBrae. She drove to the basket repeatedly and hit her goal on a free throw with 1:27 to play.
"I knew coming into the game I needed about 21 points," Stubbs said. "I didn't know how many I had scored all night. It got down to the end of the fourth quarter and I started missing shots. My coach told me I had four points to 1,000. My teammates did the right thing trying to get me the ball. I have them to thank to help me reach 1,000.
"I was pretty good with (the pressure). I tried not to think about it too much during the game. Just a normal game."
Aldridge said with the game well out of reach, she decided getting Stubbs her individual achievement was the best course of action.
"I turned around and there was 2 or 3 minutes to go and they said she was within six, and I know she can make six points down low," Aldridge said. "She had a rough time starting off early. We wanted to get that off her back. We go into the tournament on Saturday and I didn't want that pressure on her on Saturday. She needed six, so I just decided we're going to give her the ball."
LaBrae (13-9) came from behind for a 19-16 lead with 4:17 remaining in the first half. The Red Devils took control of the game for good with a 16-0 run over the next 6:52 for a commanding 32-19 advantage.
"We stepped up on defense," Lordstown coach Dave Smith said when asked what was the key to the run. "We got some good steals, some easy outlets, some fast breaks. We hit some big shots then."
Aldridge said her team uncharacteristically didn't reach well to Lordstown's defense.
"We came out and we played against presses all year," she said. "For some reason, this press at this time and in this game, rattled us. I give credit to Lordstown. They did a nice job. Some of the buckets didn't fall. I'll have to look at film and see exactly what happened."
Kelsey Smith, Marlena Liming and Ally Hajnosz led the way during the run with four points each. Smith hit a 3-pointer to give Lordstown (18-4) the lead back at 21-19 and Hajnosz made two free throws to conclude the spurt.
Sarah Cash led Lordstown with 13 points and Liming, Smith, Hajnosz and Sami Heverly each had 11.
With the regular season concluded, Dave Smith thinks the Red Devils are putting everything together at just the right time.
"We're actually coming together pretty well," he said. "We had a little falter in a couple games. We had some injuries. We're fully healthy now. I think we're doing pretty well now."