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With her usually deft shooting touch apparently no where near Hodgenville on Thursday night, Ivy Brown had to find other ways to torment the visiting Central Hardin Lady Bruins.
A LaRue County junior forward who has moved to the backcourt in the last two weeks because of an ankle injury to sophomore point guard Alexis Brewer, Brown overcame an 11-for-26 shooting night to score a game-high 32 points as the Lady Hawks pulled away for a 58-37 win over their 5th Region rivals.
“I have no idea the last time I had a night like that,” Brown said of her shooting. “But everyone has nights like that sometimes. I think we all kind of struggled from the field tonight, but we kept playing hard.”
LaRue County (12-4), which entered the night shooting 62.8 percent from the foul line, 40.1 percent from the field and 31.9 percent from the arc, struggled on all three fronts. The Lady Hawks got to the charity stripe a lot, but never really made Central Hardin (2-16) pay for its 24 fouls as they missed 20-of-36 free throws.
Fortunately for her, the team’s shooting woes didn’t bother Brown in other areas. She added game highs in rebounds (16), steals (three) and blocks (two) while passing out a team-high five assists.
“We made fun of her in the locker room because she was approaching a quadruple-double: points, rebounds, assists and missed layups,” joked veteran LaRue County coach Travis Wootton.
The missed shots kept Central Hardin in it early as the Lady Bruins tied the score three times in the first quarter.
“We kind of stumbled over ourselves for about three quarters of the game,” Wootton said. “We didn’t have a good practice yesterday, either, and I told Coach (Kyle) Baker before the game that I was worried that we might come out and stink it up. And we did.”
The Lady Bruins found themselves down 16-9 entering the second quarter after Brown had four points and an assist in the Lady Hawks’ 7-2 run in the final 3:20 of the first quarter.
LaRue County led by as many as 13 points in the first half, but led just 28-20 after Central Hardin freshman guard Caynan Powell hit a 3-pointer from the right wing at the halftime buzzer.
Brown said the slight lead served as a wake-up call for the second half.
“It was a shock,” she said. “They tell you not to play down to a team when they’re not at your level and I think we got lazy and it bit us in the butt.”
Brown had two assists and a basket in the lane during the Lady Hawks’ quick 6-0 run to open the second half. Just when it looked like the Lady Hawks might finally pull away, junior guard Aislynn Barnes, who finished with 12 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals, buried back-to-back jumpers to pull Central Hardin within 10 points again with more than 12 minutes still remaining.
“At halftime I told the girls that we were going to open the second half the same way we ended the first half and we did,” said first-year Central Hardin coach Kristina Covington. “We’re doing some good things. We’re executing offensively and defensively, our rotations are good. We’re just having two or three turnovers back-to-back that are hurting us.”
Central Hardin’s momentum was short-lived as Brown scored her team’s next eight points on a jumper, three free throws and a 3-pointer off an assist from eighth-grade sister Presley. Central Hardin never drew closer than 15 the rest of the way.
“The big thing when it comes to defending Ivy is that she’s a person who can shoot, penetrate and post up,” Covington said. “I thought in the first half we did a good job on her, but in the second half, our youth caught up to us and her experience helped her. But let’s give credit where credit’s due: She’s a great player and she played a great game, offensively and defensively.”
LARUECOUNTY 58, CENTRAL HARDIN 37
Central Hardin 9 11 9 8—37
LaRue County 16 12 17 13—58
Aislynn Barnes 12, Caynan Powell 7, Melanie Humphrey 6, Autumn Jaggers 6, Kelli Krupinski 3, Decarai Anderson 2, Shelby Maggard 1. FG: 14-47. FT: 7-15. 3-pointers: 2-13 (Mariah Helton 0-7, Powell 2-3, Maggard 0-2, Barnes 0-1). Rebs: 35 (Barnes 6, Maggard 5). Assists: 10 (Barnes 6). Steals: 4 (Barnes 2).
Ivy Brown 32, Haley Holt 11, Alley Evans 7, Alisha Durbin 6, Hunter Holt 1, Miranda Hornback 1. FG: 19-51. FT: 16-36. 3-pointers: 4-14 (I. Brown 3-8, Ha. Holt 1-2, Hu. Holt 0-2, Presley Brown 0-1, Mallory Williams 0-1). Rebs: 46 (I. Brown 16, Evans 8). Assists: 11 (I. Brown 5). Steals: 5 (I. Brown 3, P. Brown 2).
UP NEXT: LaRue County hosts Owensboro Apollo at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Central Hardin plays at Marshall County at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Nathaniel Bryan can be reached at (270) 505-1758 or email@example.com