By KEVIN THOMPSON
INGALLS — Moscow knew it had its hands full against the Ashland Lady Eagles, and with a trip to the substate finals on the line, the Thursday contest had even more pressure involved.
After looking the stronger team early though, the Lady Wildcats succumbed to the longer, taller and deeper Eagles, 62-30.
The win sends Ashland to the Class 1A-Division II finals Saturday, and ends the Wildcats' season at 17-5.
The second-seed Wildcats got off to an auspicious start with a 6-3 lead three minutes into the game, and had it tied at eight with 3:52 to play in the opening quarter.
Then the tide turned when the shots stopped dropping for Moscow, and Ashland (now 16-5) took advantage in a big way.
The Eagles went on a 10-0 run, got the lead to 21-12, then held the Wildcats scoreless the rest of the half, taking a 25-14 lead at the break.
Elizabeth McKinney led the Eagles' attack, hitting 13 first-half points (including a trio of treys). She finished the game with 27 points on 10-of-12 shooting (5-of-7 from behind the arc). Kara Reimer added 12.
Moscow finished the game 12-of-51 from the floor and just had no answer for the Ashland pressure.
"They had a little more experience with upperclassmen, and more size than us with bigger bodies to get inside," Moscow coach Shawn Anderson said.
The strategy was to come out with speed to counter the Ashland size, he said, and worked early.
"But we still took ourselves out of the game playing to speed the game up. We sped it up with our minds, too," he said.
The speed game was working, Anderson said, until the first couple of turnovers.
"Then we got frustrated," he said. "Then we didn't get the ball to the middle on the press break and got a little hesitant."
Moscow tried a variety of defenses, but the Wildcats just didn't have an answer for Ashland's inside-outside game.
"We wanted to run man because they shoot the three well, but obviously they drove it in and kicked it out and we didn't have a chance to recover," Anderson said. "We got down and couldn't recover."
It was a good season at 17-5, playing well of late, but the Wildcats looked a little flat after some snow days this week.
"But I'm proud of our season," Anderson added.
Ashland will face Ingalls Saturday at 6 p.m. in the sub-state championship.
Ashland 16 9 19 18 -- 62
Moscow 8 6 12 4 -- 30
Ashland (16-6) — McKinney 10 2-2- 27, Isenbart 0 2-2 2, Reimer 5 2-5 12, Luerman 0 2-4 2, Johnson 1 2-4 4, Borgelt 2 1-2 6, Province 3 0-0 6, Endicott 1 1-2 3. Totals 22-39 12-21 62.
Moscow (17-5) — Mueller 6 0-6 12, Saucedo 0 0-1 0, Cecenas 1 0-2 2, Davidson 1 0-0 2, Haines 1 2-4 4, Dobie 3 4-7 10. Totals 12-51 6-20 30. 3-pt. goals — Ashland 8-12 (McKinney 5, Borgelt), Moscow 0-10. Rebounds — Ashland 16 (Borgelt 6, Endicott 5), Moscow 22 (Haines 6, Mueller 6). Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — Moscow (Haines, R. Cecenas). Total fouls — Ashland 15, Moscow 20.