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MUNFORDVILLE — The LaRue County Lady Hawks avoided another letdown at the hands of the Hart County Lady Raiders on Tuesday night by not letting up.
The top-seeded Lady Hawks opened the game with a 15-0 run before cruising by the fourth-seeded Lady Raiders, 54-11, in the opening semifinal of the Girls’ 18th District Basketball Tournament at Hart County High School.
“I think that was the start we were looking for,” said LaRue County star junior wing Ivy Brown. “It was good.”
It was good enough to help LaRue County to advance to Friday’s championship game at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The Lady Hawks (24-5) await the winner of tonight’s semifinal between the second-seeded Green County Lady Dragons (17-13) and the third-seeded Caverna Lady Colonels (15-13). LaRue County swept both teams in the regular season.
“I guess you could say our start was a sigh of relief, but we really won’t breathe a sigh of relief until we’re cutting down those nets on Friday night,” Brown said.
What LaRue County didn’t do last season, though, was knock off the Lady Raiders at the opportune moment. The Lady Hawks stunned Hart County in this gym in the 2011-12 regular season for their first win between the teams in Munfordville in 16 years. Hart County got the last laugh, stunning the defending champion Lady Hawks in the district tournament semifinals.
LaRue County would like to be laughing at the end of Friday night’s game, but regardless of the outcome, the Lady Hawks can take solace in the fact that they’re back in the 5th Region Tournament by virtue of their win Tuesday.
“We can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that our season isn’t over if something crazy happens Friday,” Brown said. “But we still have to come out ready to play Friday night just like we did tonight.”
What was crazy Tuesday night were just how dominant the Lady Hawks were. Every Lady Hawk starter had a rebounding in the first five minutes as LaRue County crushed the smaller Lady Raiders on the glass, 51-26.
“I didn’t know it was by that much, but I knew we were outrebounding them by a lot,” said Brown, who was 1-of-5 Lady Hawks with at least six rebounds. “Rebounding is one of our strengths and we used it to our advantage tonight.”
Having Brown on their side is one of the Lady Hawks’ strengths, too.
With a scout from Western Kentucky University, which has attended several of her games, in attendance, Brown put on a show worthy of a NCAA Division-I recruit. Brown scored her team’s first six points and finished with game highs in points (22) and rebounds (13). She made more fields by herself in the first two minutes (two) than Hart County did all game (1-of-31).
LaRue County sophomore guard Alexis Brewer, who added a solo 6-0 run of her own later in the first quarter, added 18 points, eight rebounds and a game-high five steals. Senior forward Alisha Durbin had a miserable (0-for-6) night from the field, but she still grabbed nine rebounds and blocked two shots. Junior center Alley Evans added seven points and six rebounds, while senior forward Miranda Hornback had six rebounds and accounted for all four of her team’s bench points.
Down 15-0, Charity Burd, a 5-foot middle-schooler, made a runner in traffic to end her team’s scoreless drought with 3:36 left in the first quarter. However, the Lady Raiders missed their 25 field-goal attempts after that.
Burd earned All-Tournament Team honors, while sophomore forward Christessica Priddy, who had two points and five rebounds, was honored by being named to the regular-season All-District Team following the game.
LaRue County led by 29 at the half and was still pressing in the backcourt with its starters when Hart County coach John Burd called a timeout to avoid a turnover – his team made 26 of them anyway – with his team down 40-7 with 4:56 to play in the third quarter.
Brown hit a pair of foul shots with 4:16 left in the third quarter to get the 35-point rule running clock in effect.
The biggest ovation of the night might have come in the final 11 seconds, when Hart County junior reserve forward Leslie Terry made a pair of free throws to finally get her team into double digits – it took LaRue County just 3:04 to do that.
LARUECOUNTY 54, HART COUNTY 11
Hart County 3 2 3 3—11
LaRue County 21 13 14 6—54
Charity Burd 4, Shanda Bradley 3, Christessica Priddy 2, Leslie Terry 2. FG: 1-31. FT: 9-16. 3-pointers: 0-4 (Burd 0-3, Hannah Bruton 0-1). Rebs: 26 (Bradley 7, Rachel Bunnell 5, Priddy 5). Assists: 0.
Ivy Brown 22, Alexis Brewer 18, Alley Evans 7, Miranda Hornback 4, Haley Holt 2, Alisha Durbin 1. FG: 16-52. FT: 21-34. 3-pointers: 1-6 (I. Brown 1-4, Ha. Holt 0-2). Rebs: 51 (I. Brown 13, A. Durbin 9, A. Brewer 8, Evans 6, Hornback 6). Assists: 6 (A. Durbin 2, Ha. Holt 2). Steals: 15 (Brewer 5, Evans 3, I. Brown 2, Ha. Holt 2). Blocks: 3 (A. Durbin 2, I. Brown 1).
UP NEXT: LaRue County plays second-seeded Green County (17-13) or third-seeded Caverna (15-13) in the 18th District Tournament championship game at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Nathaniel Bryancan be reached at (270) 505-1758 or firstname.lastname@example.org.