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After Monday night, it’s going to be a lot easier for LaRue County fans to remember the last time their Lady Hawks beat the vaunted Elizabethtown Lady Panthers.
Junior guard Ivy Brown found sophomore guard Alexis Brewer for a deep 3-pointer to give LaRue County the lead for good with 5:42 left in the game as the homestanding Lady Hawks stunned the sixth-ranked Lady Panthers, 49-39.
Brown had scored 19 or more in her last seven games, but had to settle for 17 points and 15 rebounds against the Lady Panthers (14-5), who had their 45-game winning streak against area teams snapped.
“Hey, we got the W, so that’s all that matters,” Brown said with a smile.
Veteran LaRue County coach Travis Wootton said if he recalled correctly, the Lady Panthers’ last loss to the Lady Hawks was during the 1994-95 season when his older sister, Allison, starred at LaRue County.
“Some people were saying it was 1987,” said LaRue County senior forward Alisha Durbin, who had seven points, eight rebounds and a game-high three blocks. “It’s been a while, that’s all I know.”
Elizabethtown scored the game’s first 19 points Friday night in its 69-47 win at John Hardin. The Lady Panthers scored the first six points Monday and took its second six-point lead at 10-4, but couldn’t extend the lead against LaRue County – which missed 14 of its first 17 shots.
“E’town has been known to come out and punch you in the face, so we had to come out early and maintain against them,” Brown said. “And I thought we played really well against them.”
Brewer drove down the right side of the lane to give the Lady Hawks (14-4) their first lead at 11-10 with 6:33 left in the first half. Elizabethtown responded as freshman reserve guard Rachel Warden found senior guard Anna Bowling for a 3-pointer and sophomore post Reauna Cleaver hit a jumper off a pass from Bowling.
The back-to-back baskets gave Elizabethtown a four-point lead with 5:22 left in the first half, but that would be the Lady Hawks’ largest deficit the remainder of the game.
“That was a big emphasis for us, to stay with them,” said Wootton, whose team has won three straight and 8-of-9. “We know they like to hit you with a knockout punch in the first 4 minutes and force you to play catch-up the rest of the game. And they’re too good of a team to play catch-up against.”
Brewer hit 1-of-2 free throws with 0.7 seconds left in the second quarter to close LaRue County’s 6-2 run to end the first half and send the teams into halftime tied at 17.
“That got our confidence up,” Durbin said. “We knew that if we could be with them then, we could beat them in the end.”
That confidence definitely lasted through the break as the Lady Hawks never trailed in the third quarter and just once in the fourth quarter after junior guard Kinsey Mudd hit a 3-pointer off an inbounds pass from senior reserve forward Alexis Powell to give Elizabethtown a 32-31 lead with 6:59 left in the game.
LaRue County never trailed after Brewer hit 1-of-2 free throws two possessions later to tie it at 32. Two trips later, Brewer buried the game-changing 3.
“We have several plays that we run off a timeout and obviously that was one of the options,” Wootton said.
The free throw and 3 came in a 15-1 run that allowed the Lady Hawks to take their largest lead at 46-33 with 41.2 seconds left after a pair of free throws from Brown.
“This is a huge win for us,” she said. “Not only because they’re a rival, but because they’re a top-two team in the region. And one of our other goals was to beat a top-10 team.”
Elizabethtown set a season-low for points scored, matching its point total in its loss to Marion County in last year’s 5th Region Tournament final.
Cleaver made a jumper with 4:26 left in the third quarter to tie the score at 25. However, between that time and 31.5 seconds left in the game, the Lady Panthers made just one field goal in that nearly 12-minute span.
“LaRue County is so long that defensively, they can see around a lot of things,” said veteran Elizabethtown coach Tim Mudd, whose team shot just 30 percent from the field and turned it over 18 times. “And offensively, we had a hard time seeing past them and getting clean passes off because of their length.”
LARUECOUNTY 49, ELIZABETHTOWN 39
Elizabethtown 10 7 10 12—39
LaRue County 9 8 14 18—49
Erin Boley 15, Reauna Cleaver 10, Kinsey Mudd 7, Anna Bowling 3, Rachel Warden 3, Alexis Powell 1. FG: 14-42. FT: 8-12. 3-pointers: 3-12 (Mudd 1-8, A. Bowling 1-2, Warden 1-1, Darien Huff 0-1). Rebs: 29 (Boley 12, Cleaver 10). Assists: 9 (A. Bowling 2, Huff 2, Warden 2). Steals: 7 (Boley 3).
Alexis Brewer 19, Ivy Brown 17, Alisha Durbin 7, Haley Holt 4, Alley Evans 2. FG: 15-50. FT: 15-21. 3-pointers: 4-14 (Brown 2-9, Brewer 2-3, Holt 0-1, Mallory Williams 0-1). Rebs: 42 (Brown 15, Brewer 8, Durbin 8, Evans 8). Assists: 7 (Brewer 2, Brown 2, Durbin 2). Steals: 7 (Brewer 3, I. Brown 2).
UP NEXT: LaRue County hosts Breckinridge County at 8 p.m. Thursday. Elizabethtown hosts Washington County at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Nathaniel Bryancan be reached at (270) 505-1758 or firstname.lastname@example.org