It was supposed to be the Game of the Week, a wire-to-wire rollercoaster, a fight to the finish between two Southern Sky Conference heavyweights.

It turned out to be none of the above, thanks to an Ashland defense that flooded passing lanes, blocked shots and eventually made the fourth quarter moot.

Ashland, picked No. 2 in the SSC's preseason coaches poll, held Crater, picked No. 1, to one field goal in a 17-minute mid-game stretch to run away with a 42-26 victory Friday night at Mountain Avenue Gym.

Brenna Heater had 15 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks and Allison Gida had 14 points, five assists and two steals as the No. 3-ranked Grizzlies held the Comets to 18 percent shooting (7-for-39) in the first of three head-to-head matchups between the SSC archrivals.

"The girls followed our game plan to a tee," said Ashland head coach Steve Farley, whose team has won 13 straight since an 0-2 start. "I think we messed up something that was in our game plan four or five times all night, and that's pretty impressive when you're playing a team for the first time."

When Aundrea Albright, who paced Crater (6-5 overall, 1-1 SSC) with 11 points, hit two free throws early in the second quarter to give the Comets a 12-8 lead the game looked like a typical Ashland-Crater slugfest. Then the Grizzlies' suffocating man-to-man defense took over and the next two quarters played out like a bad CD on repeat, with Crater struggling just to get off shots and Ashland (2-0 SSC) letting Heater and Gida do their thing. That tandem scored 19 of Ashland's 25 points in the middle two quarters, a stretch that included a 22-0 Grizzly run.

Albright drained two free throws to finally stop the bleeding with 4:09 to go in the third, but by then Ashland was comfortably in front 30-12.

"We did what we were supposed to do," Farley said. "As far executing the (game plan), that was by far the best effort this season."

Ashland also got 10 points out of Kelsey McKinnis and three steals out of Heidi Siebenlist.

For Crater, Alana Harding had four points and a team-high four rebounds and Leona Steel scored six points.

Crater (26) &

Deschamps 3, Steel 6, Heard 0, Britton 2, Albright 11, Harding 4. Totals: 7-39 9-13 26.

Ashland (42) &

Pavlich 0, Silbowitz 0, Zare 0, Siebenlist 2, McKinnis 10, Petitt 0, Gida 14, DelCarlo 2, Contreras 0, Heater 15. Totals: 16-30 11-17 42.

Crater84410""26

Ashland8141110""42

3-point goals &

Crater 2 (Deschamps, Steel). Ashland 0.

Fouled out &

none. JV game &

Ashland won.

Boys basketball

Seniors Dillon Thigpen and Matt Lipski combined to score 34 points as Ashland earned its third straight win, 49-41, over Crater, Friday night at a jam packed Mountain Avenue Gym.

Lipski, a post, scored 18 and Thigpen, a guard, added 16 as the Grizzlies improved to 7-7 overall.

Crater, which has lost two straight, fell to 6-5.