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Alexis Brewer is starting to get in a groove. And so are her LaRue County Lady Hawks.
Coming off a sparkling performance Friday in an 18th District win against visiting Green County, the sophomore point guard gave another standout effort Monday night, scoring a game-high 22 points to help her team pull away from visiting 5th Region rival John Hardin, 63-52.
Brewer also had five rebounds and four assists after her 18-point, eight-rebound, six-assist, five-steal effort against Green County.
“She’s starting to be very aggressive,” said LaRue County coach Travis Wootton, whose team has beaten five teams with winning records in its last nine games. “For a while, she was looking to draw the foul instead of making the basket. But tonight, she was strong with the ball and was tough to keep out of the paint.”
That became easier when John Hardin’s top two paint threats, senior post Michelle Montgomery and junior forward Zacchea Small, were no longer in her way. The two Lady Bulldogs combined to score eight of their team’s first 14 points as John Hardin (15-4) led by seven points early. However, both players picked up their second fouls in the final 2 minutes of the first quarter and stayed on the bench in the second quarter – when LaRue County (10-3) zoomed ahead.
Montgomery finished with 14 points, six rebounds and two blocks, while Small had six points and a game-high eight rebounds.
“We were ahead and totally in control of the game and then Zacchea and Michelle are off the floor,” said John Hardin coach Bryan Todd, whose team had its six-game winning streak snapped. “All of their players were on the floor and our best two players were off the floor. That makes a difference when you’re playing on the road against a great team.”
Brewer helped make the difference before halftime. The Lady Hawks didn’t trail again after her layup 30 seconds into the second period put them ahead 17-16. Eighth-grade reserve wing Jayla Freeman pulled the Lady Bulldogs even for the final time at 20 with 5:01 left, but Brewer answered with a three-point play – 1-of-4 the Lady Hawks had in the first half – on LaRue County’s next trip down the floor.
Brewer had three points in the Lady Hawks’ 13-0 run in the final 4 minutes of the second half before reserve junior center Katria Sanders ended the Lady Bulldogs’ dry spell with a putback with 8 seconds left in the half.
“We played really well as a team tonight, but I thought we really got in a groove there in the second quarter,” Brewer said.
John Hardin pulled within five in the third quarter before junior wing Ivy Brown made a shot from the left wing for three of her 19 points. Brown also had five steals, four blocks and three assists.
LaRue County turned the ball over 25 times, 17 because of Lady Bulldogs steals. Junior guard Tajah Haley had 14 points, four assists and a game-high eight steals, while freshman guard Tyra Jackson had seven points, three assists and four steals. Freeman also had four steals.
“I don’t even know what to say about that. I have no clue,” Brewer said of the Lady Hawks’ turnovers. “But we need to cut down on those – a lot.”
The Lady Hawks had seven turnovers in 18 fourth-quarter possessions, but John Hardin drew no closer than seven points in the final 8 minutes.
“I was proud of the girls because we didn’t quit in spite of all the adversity we faced,” Todd said. “I’m not upset with them at all. They played hard all night. I’m as proud of them as I’ve been after any game all year. This will make us tougher and it will make us better. And if we didn’t have a chip on our shoulder already, we’ll have a bigger one now.”
LARUE COUNTY 63, JOHN HARDIN 52
John Hardin 16 8 18 10—52
LaRue County 15 21 14 13—63
John Hardin (15-4)
Tajah Haley 14, Michelle Montgomery 14, Tyra Jackson 7, Zacchea Small 6, Nawdya Fletcher 4, Jayla Freeman 4, Katria Sanders 2, Renee Stateman 1. FG: 23-57. FT: 5-8. 3-pointers: 1-11 (Freeman 0-5, Haley 0-3, Fletcher 0-2, Jackson 1-1). Rebs: 27 (Small 8, Montgomery 6). Assists: 13 (Haley 4, Jackson 3). Steals: 17 (Haley 8, Freeman 4, Jackson 4).
LaRue County (10-3)
Alexis Brewer 22, Ivy Brown 19, Alley Evans 10, Haley Holt 10, Alisha Durbin 2. FG: 23-51. FT: 14-19. 3-pointers: 3-6 (Brewer 1-3, Brown 1-2, Holt 1-1). Rebs: 27 (Evans 7, Holt 7). Assists: 11 (Brewer 4, Brown 3). Steals: 11 (Brown 5, Holt 3).
UP NEXT: LaRue County hosts Hart County at 6:30 p.m. Friday. John Hardin hosts Central Hardin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Nathaniel Bryan can be reached at (270) 505-1758 or firstname.lastname@example.org.