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MUNFORDVILLE — With her team struggling to put away the third-seeded Caverna Lady Colonels on Friday night in the Girls’ 18th District Basketball Tournament’s championship game, Ivy Brown came up with an ingenious solution for the top-seeded LaRue County Lady Hawks: Do it herself.
The junior wing outscored Caverna by herself in the second half, scoring 19 of her game-high 32 points in the final 15:03 as the Lady Hawks eventually pulled away, 61-40.
“I just didn’t want to lose,” said Brown, who also had nine rebounds and four assists. “That was the attitude I came out with in the second half as well as our team.”
LaRue County never trailed, taking an eight-point lead in the first quarter and twice leading by seven points in the second. However, Caverna closed the first half on a 10-4 run to enter the break down 28-27.
“Barely being up any is too close for comfort in a game like this,” Brown said. “But we never doubted ourselves that we were going to lose. We came out strong in the second half and put them away.”
A basket in the lane by freshman guard Madison Faulkner pulled Caverna within 30-29 with 7:23 left in the third quarter before LaRue County (25-5) closed the period with a 15-2 run. Brown was involved in all seven scoring possessions in the run, making three baskets, hitting two free throws and assisting on the other three field goals.
A pair of free throws from sophomore guard Ciara Waggoner got Caverna’s deficit back to single digits at 45-36 with 5:55 left in the game. The Lady Hawks countered with another big run, this time at 16-0, as Brown had eight points and Brewer had six points and two assists.
“Ivy just kind of had it in her mind that she was going to go out and do her thing in the second half,” said LaRue County coach Travis Wootton, whose team won its second district title in three years.
After scoring 31 points in the first 19 minutes against LaRue County’s 1-2-2 defense, the Lady Colonels scored just nine points in the final 13 minutes as the Lady Hawks switched to a 2-3 zone.
“We were able to close it in,” said LaRue County sophomore guard Alexis Brewer. “They had a harder time getting into the paint and we were able to get out on their shooters.”
Wootton admitted he might have been better off taking Tommy Adams’ advice and playing the 2-3 defense the whole game like the veteran assistant coach wanted.
“I felt like that really changed the game,” Wootton said. “Once we went to it, it really paid off.”
Big nights from Brewer, junior center Alley Evans and senior forward Haley Holt also paid off for the Lady Hawks, who enter this week’s 5th Region Tournament at Green County with a seven-game winning streak.
Evans had seven points and a game-high 12 rebounds and Holt chipped in with nine rebounds and a game-high five assists.
Brewer added 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
“Alexis just goes out and handles her business,” Wootton said. “She does a lot of good things when she’s on the floor.”
Senior center Reagan Kingrey had team highs in points (10) and rebounds (seven) for Caverna, which made its first district final appearances since 2006. Faulkner grabbed six rebounds and scored nine points on 4-of-19 shooting. Waggoner, Faulkner and Kingrey were named to the All-Tournament Team.
The much taller Lady Hawks used their size to their advantage, outrebounding Caverna, 46-27. In the district semifinals, LaRue County outrebounded Hart County, 51-26.
Brown, Brewer and Evans were named to the All-Tournament Team.
LARUE COUNTY 61, CAVERNA 40
Caverna 11 16 4 9—40
LaRue County 16 12 17 16—61
Reagan Kingrey 10, Madison Faulkner 9, Madison Perry 6, Ciara Waggoner 6, Andrea Davis 5, Kiara Kirk 4. FG: 11-48. FT: 14-18. 3-pointers: 4-9 (Faulkner 1-4, Perry 2-2, Davis 1-2, Madison Stone 0-1). Rebs: 27 (Kingrey 7, Faulkner 6, Kirk 6). Assists: 8 (Waggoner 5).
LaRue County (25-5)
Ivy Brown 32, Alexis Brewer 18, Alley Evans 7, Alisha Durbin 2, Haley Holt 2. FG: 23-55. FT: 14-18. 3-pointers: 1-10 (I. Brown 1-4, Brewer 0-3, Holt 0-2), Presley Brown 0-1). Rebs: 46 (Evans 12, I. Brown 9, Holt 9). Assists: 15 (Holt 5, Brewer 4, I. Brown 4).
Nathaniel Bryancan be reached at (270) 505-1758 or firstname.lastname@example.org.