Senior Lady Knight Ashley Malone dominated Friday night’s non-district contest between Pope John Paul II and visiting Clarksville Northwest scoring a game-high 35 points in the 57-51 JPII victory.
As good as Malone was for the Lady Knights, PJP II trailed by one with just over one minute remaining in the game before closing out the contest on a 7-0 run to seal the victory.
“Our girls made clutch play after clutch play at the end when we needed it,” said JPII coach Angi Puckett. “To see them get that confidence is awesome.”
A Northwest layup from Kayla Howell put the Lady Vikings in front 51-50, but JPII responded with a 3-pointer from Leanna Pearson then two Malone free throws, and a Lillie Van Metre lay up for the six-point victory.
“That was a great win for us,” Malone said. “Our heads were down a little bit in the first half but we showed we can overcome that. We fought all the way until the end and I’m proud of our team.”
Malone tallied 15 of her 35 points from behind the arc saying that is when she knew it was her game.
“I’ve been working really hard on my shot and when I saw those 3-pointers go in that is when I knew tonight was my night,” she said.
Knights coach Angi Puckett says that it was fun watching her senior point guard.
“To know her history and to know what she has gone through to get her and to see her make play after play I was enjoying watching it for sure,” she said.
Malone’s play also earned praise from Northwest head coach Ben Wallace.
“She was outstanding tonight,” he said. “Their team played a good game and beat us, but she was just outstanding.”
The Class of 2020 product has worked hard on her game, playing AAU ball over the summer and preparing for a senior season she hopes gets her college attention.
“My work in AAU has helped me so much,” she said. “The competition in AAU is really tough and it has helped me so much in preparing for this season.”
The loss drops Northwest to 5-5 overall and despite the disappointment in the result, Wallace says Friday night wasn’t a total loss for his team.
“It is a tough loss because I can look back and see missed opportunities,” he said. “Late in the game we didn’t handle that very well, and that is disappointing. That said, not everything was bad. Yes, we had our sour moments but we also had good things happen. I can pick out good things for all of our girls that played tonight.”
JPII (8-3) heads to Florida to compete in the Hilton Beach Blowout after Christmas.
Northwest will open 2020 against Wilson Central on Jan. 3.
Pope John Paul II (57): Ashley Malone 35, Lilie Van Metre 6, Leanna Pearson 5, Aspen Whittington 3, Anastin Lee 3, Katelyn O’Neil 2, Katie Eubanks 2.
Northwest (51): Kayla Howell 19, Tamia Scott 9, Madison King 8, Emiyah Cobb 8, Zay Freeman 5, Takyala Phinnessee 2.