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The Elizabethtown Lady Panthers came up just short in their bid for a second state championship Sunday afternoon.
The Lady Panthers rallied from a 13-point first-half deficit to get within one on three different occasions in the second half, but the Louisville Butler Bearettes hung on for a 49-38 victory in the Houchens Industries/KHSAA Girls’ Sweet 16 state final in front of 4,824 at Western Kentucky’s E.A. Diddle Arena.
Elizabethtown, which had won 17 straight games, finishes the season 32-5.
Sophomore Erin Boley led the Lady Panthers with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while junior guard Darien Huff added eight points.
Butler (32-3) hit 6-of-14 3-pointers to help overcome 36 percent shooting and win its 20th straight game.
After sophomore guard Rachel Warden missed a 3-pointer with 3:17 left and the Lady Panthers down 44-38, Butler got the rebound and maintained possession for over 2 minutes when it finally reached the bonus.
The Lady Panthers missed their final six shots and didn’t score after Boley’s two free throws made it 39-38 with 5:27 left.
After Elizabethtown trailed 20-9 after the first quarter, it eventually pulled within 28-22 at halftime. Huff’s layup with 1:21 left in the third quarter pulled E’town within 33-32.
Down 35-32 going into the fourth quarter, Boley’s jumper in the lane made it 37-36 with 5:53 remaining.
Elizabethtown shot 30 percent (13-of-43) from the floor and 13 percent (2-of-16) from beyond the arc.