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With her team trailing by two with 4.7 seconds left Friday, Meade County’s Morgan Turner stepped to the foul line with a chance to at least force overtime with the LaRue County Lady Hawks.
Turner hit the first shot, but her second bounced off the front of the rim. LaRue County senior Alisha Durbin chased down the rebound and got the ball to sophomore Alexis Brewer, who was able to run out the clock and preserve the Lady Hawks’ 60-59 win.
“Out of the players who went after that ball, she (Durbin) was the one who came up with it,” said LaRue County junior Ivy Brown, who fouled out with less than 10 seconds left. “That was important because there was still 4 seconds left. That’s like an eternity in basketball. Her coming up with that rebound was huge.”
And it gave the Lady Hawks (2-0) an impressive early season win in a game featuring four possible future NCAA Division-I players in Brewer, Brown, Turner and junior teammate Raley Johnson.
After a sluggish start, the game lived up to the hype surrounding those players. LaRue County led by eight three times in the fourth period, but the Lady Waves (0-2) rallied every time. The Lady Hawks built a 58-50 lead with 1:10 remaining before Turner hit two of her game-high six 3-pointers 14 seconds apart to trim the deficit to 59-56 with 26.2 seconds left.
“It was very intense, but I live for those moments,” said Turner, who scored a game-high 24 points. “When you hit a big shot, you’ve got chills going down your spine and the crowd is really in it. I like close games like that.”
With the chance to ice the win from the foul line, LaRue County hit just 1-of-4 from the stripe in the final 15 seconds – which left the door open for the Lady Waves.
Senior Maya Luney, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds, sank two free throws with 8.9 seconds left to make it 60-58. The Lady Waves then forced a jump ball with 6.2 remaining. Turner drove the lane and was fouled.
She was confident she could hit both shots. So was Meade County coach Josh Hurt, who tried to coax Turner’s second shot with a little body language. Even though the shot didn’t fall, Hurt and Turner are far from disappointed in the outcome.
“We had a lot of close games last year,” Hurt said. “Do I wish she had made them both? Yes. But at the same time, we had a great chance to get that offensive rebound. But we came up short, and that was the game. If we had gotten to overtime, I think we would have had a great chance to win the game. But it didn’t go that way.”
With three players – Brown, senior Haley Holt and senior reserve Miranda Hornback – fouled out and Durbin with four, veteran coach Travis Wootton felt his team was lucky to get the win.
“I’ve been doing this for eight years now,” he said. “It’s more excitement than nerves. I’ve lost a few of these and won a few of these. I give all the credit to my players tonight. You can’t ask for more than this early in the season. They’re a good team.
“It’s a good win. It’s a gut win,” Wootton added. “You’ve got to reach down in your gut to get this game, and that’s what we did. I don’t know if we had a gut-check win like this last season. We had a couple of good wins last year, but not against a quality team like Meade on their home floor. It was a great effort.”
The first half was anything but great.
Sloppy play on both ends led to several turnovers and missed shots. The Lady Waves led 21-18 at the half after the teams combined for 14 points in the second quarter.
Brown and Brewer sparked LaRue County’s 7-0 run to open the second half and the Lady Hawks stretched the lead to 36-26 with 1:49 left in the third.
“I thought we controlled the first half, but just couldn’t buy a bucket,” Hurt said. “Then they came out and got a 10-point lead in the third quarter. But we came back and gave ourselves a chance to win. If you do that, the odds are going to be in your favor.”
Turner nailed a 3 from the top of the key, but LaRue County junior Alley Evans converted a three-point play to push the lead to 39-34 heading to the fourth.
The teams combined for 10 free throws in the first 90 seconds of the final period. After Evans hit a layup for a 53-45 lead, Turner hit a free throw, junior Katelyn Cucino hit a jumper and Luney made two free throws to cut the lead to 53-50 with 1:47 left.
Brewer’s three-point play 19 seconds later and Evans’ wide-open layup made it 58-50. But the Lady Hawks went cold as Turner nailed her two 3s.
“That’s what you’ve got to do,” Brown said of Turner. “Everybody has bad games and everybody can get hot. It was her night. That’s what a team leader does.”
LARUE COUNTY 60, MEADE COUNTY 59
LaRue County 12 6 21 21—60
Meade County 13 8 13 25—59
LaRue County (2-0)
Alexis Brewer 21, Ivy Brown 20, Alley Evans 9, Haley Holt 5, Alisha Durbin 5. FG: 17-41. FT: 22-39. 3-pointers: 4-15 (Brewer 3-10, Brown 1-4, Holt 0-1). Rebs: 28 (Brown 10, Evans 8). Assists: 8 (Brown 3, Brewer 2). Steals: 4 (Brown 4).
Meade County (0-2)
Morgan Turner 24, Maya Luney 15, Katelyn Cucino 7, Raley Johnson 4, Kelsey Sutton 4, Addi Lynch 3, Elissa Youart 2. FG: 18-51. FT: 14-21. 3-pointers: 9-24 (Turner 6-12, Cucino 1-1, Sutton 1-2, Lynch 1-3, Alexis Greco 0-1, Johnson 0-5). Rebs: 32 (Luney 10, Turner 6, Cucino 6). Assists: 12 (Cucino 4, Turner 3). Steals: 5 (Johnson 2).
UP NEXT: LaRue County plays at Hart County at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the first game of a girl/boy doubleheader. Meade County, which played Saturday, hosts Cloverport Frederick Fraize at 8 p.m. Thursday in the second game of a boy/girl doubleheader.
Josh Claywell can be reached at (270) 505-1752 or email@example.com.