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Manchester Enterprise - Thursday, December 11, 2003
Gilbert, Bowling lead squad in season debut

Clay dominates Owsley

The Lady Tigers were impressive in their season opener, Friday, downing a good Owsley County team 66-39 before a nice crown at Bobby Keith gym. Sophomore point guard Jayme "Skooly" GIlbert turned in an outstanding performance with 22 points; nine rebounds, seven steals; eight assists and one blocked shot. She made all eight of her free throw attempts.

Junior guard Kari Ealy got the Lady Tigers off to the early lead with a three pointer. After the Owls tied the game on Brittany Price's three, Clay got another three from Paige Jackson to go up 6-3 and later another three from Holly Hoskins and went on to lead 16-7 after one period. Gilbert scored five and Kelly Jones' two in the first period, Gilbert scored 10 more in the second quarter to help Clay to a 35-13 lead at intermission.

Six different Clay players made a three point basket. Senior guard Monica Bowling had a solid game, scoring nine with two steals and four of seven from the floor, hitting her only three point attempt. Freshman reserve center finished with seven points and six rebounds. Sophomore Holly Hoskins also finished with seven; Jenna Wilson had five; Kelly Jones four; Ealy, Jackson and Gemma Gray had three points each; Sasha Lyttle two and Sarah Burchell one.

Clay's defense held the Lady Owls top player Austin McIntosh to just three points. Megan Williams and Price scored 13 and 11 points, respectively, to lead Owsley. "This was a good team we beat," said Clay Coach Donnie Gray. "You just keep track of (Owsley's) scores this season and you'll see. This was a nice win for us," he added.
Gilbert's 24 leads to Lady Tiger rout

Clay stings Jackets

Leading 9-8, Clay County (2-0) reeled off 10 straight points and never looked back as they downed visiting Middlesboro 85-49 Monday. Again it was sophomore guard Jayme "Skooly" Gilbert who led the way, as she scored a game high 24 points; handed out nine assists; grabbed six rebounds and had seven steals. Those numbers were almost identical to those she had in Friday's opener with Owsley County.

The game began with a three-pointer from Kari Ealy. She would make three of six on the night and finish with nine points. Maleah Roberts came off the bench to score back to back baskets to begin Clay's 10-0 run late in the first period. She would finish with eight points and four rebounds. Freshman Paige Jackson made five of seven shots, including one of three, three points attempts, and finished with 12 points. She had six steals, four rebounds and dished out five assists.

Gilbert scored 12 of her 24 in the second period as Clay shot to a 38-18 half time lead. Jenna Wilson made four of seven shots, including one of two three point attempts and finished with nine points and three rebounds. Kelly Jones scored six; Gemma Gray five; Mariah Aubrey four; Monica Bowling, Holly Hoskins (four steals), Amanda House and Bethani Herron added two apiece.

For the game Clay made 37 of 70 shots, but hit an impressive 31 of 53 from two point range. Clay was out rebounded 33-27. Mary Flannery and Bethani Evans led the Lady Yellow Jackets with 17 and 10, respectively.
Friday December 5, 2003 (JV)

Clay County 42, Owsley County 31

Lady Tigers: Maleah Roberts 1, Bethani Heron 2, Gemma Gray 7, Stephanie Jackson 6, Holly Hoskins 7, Sarah Burchell 12, Jennifer Smallwood 5, Mariah Aubrey 2.

Owls: K. Combs 11, Thacker 1, Murrell 10, Sizemore 3, Witt 2, C. Combs 4.

(Freshmen) Tuesday December 2, 2003

Clay County 47, Hazard 19

Lady Tigers: Maleah Roberts 12, Sarah Burchell 14, Stephanie Jackson 11, Gemma Gray 6, Sasha Lyttle 2 and Jessica Mosley 2.

Lady Bulldogs: A. Feltner 8, S. Caudill 7, S. Alexander 2, T. Clemmons 2.

Joe Burchell
Sports Editor

Donnie Gray

Hoops 2003
Joe Burchell, Sports Editor

Lady Tigers young, talented

Work cut out for Coach Gray's squad in powerful 13th Region; but likes the challenge

Donnie Gray enters his 19th season as girls' basketball coach at Clay County having won 432 of 553 games, with a state title and a runner up finish. His Lady Tigers squad went 19-7 last season but failed to advance to the 13th Regional tournament for the first time in school history.

This season the Lady Tigers are considered to be one of the region's top five teams, this despite being Gray's youngest squad ever. "We will be very young this season but the talent is very good, as good as I've ever seen," said Gray. "We do have sophomore Jayme Gilbert returning as a three year starter and (juniors) Kari Ealy and Kelly Jones return with some experience so we have a pretty good mix," Gray added.

One one senior is listed on the team roster, guard Monica Bowling. Bowling started last season after skipping basketball her sophomore season. She is known for her long arching three point shot and her scrappy defense. Clay County's top player is sophomore point guard Jayme Gilbert. The three year starter averaged almost 14 points and six rebounds per game last season while dishing out nearly 100 assists. The Blue Star Basketball Publication listed Gilbert among the top 50 underclassmen. She was invited to an attended a one day camp for the elite 50 in Chicago in September.

"Jayme is an outstanding player and she will get her points. What we need is for someone else to step up and be a consistent scorer and take some pressure off Jayme," said Gray. Kelly Jones and Kari Ealy are back for their junior seasons. Jones was just gaining her confidence at the center position when she went down with a season ending injury before the holiday break. She suffered a broken bone in her wrist but is completely healed and has been playing well in practice.

Ealy is one of the team's best three point threats. She had several memorable games last season where she nailed as many as five straight three's in a game. Paige Jackson, a freshman, will start at one guard. Jackson is known for her intense play and is a solid all around performer. Sophomore Amanda House and freshman Maleah Roberts will spell Jones in the pivot this season. Both are good rebounders and can put points on the board. "In our preseason games we got very solid play from our post players (Jones, House and Roberts)," said Gray. A big key for us will be how well we defend and rebound," he added.

Jenna Wilson will see a lot of minutes at guard and small forward. She is very quick defender and had excellent range on her jump shot. Last season she lacked the confidence to become a consistent scorer, something she has worked on in the preseason. Freshman Holly Hoskins joins the squad after playing in Laurel County the past several seasons. She is a good ball handler and has a nice shooting touch. Sophomore Mariah Aubrey, freshman Bethani Herron and eighth grader Gemma Gray are the teams only true power forwards. Eighth grade guards, Stephanie Jackson and Sarah Burchell are two nice players that should contribute this season.

Few would argue the 49th District is the strongest in the state with Jackson County and Rockcastle County ranked fourth and seventh, respectively, in the Lexington Herald Leader state wide preseason poll. The 49th District Tournament will be played at Oneida Baptist, with the 13th Region tournament being played at Middlesboro. If Clay is to get to the regional they will have to knock off a top five team along the way. "Most of our games are going to be close, right down to the wire," said Gray. "But if we can pick it up offensively we should be in all out games right to the end." he added.

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