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5th Region Tournament: Lady Hawks beat North

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By Nathaniel Bryan

BARDSTOWN – Once Alexis Brewer and Ivy Brown got on a roll Thursday night, the LaRue County Lady Hawks rocked the North Hardin Lady Trojans right out of the Girls’ 5th Region Tournament.

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Brewer notched a career high and Brown added a double-double as the Lady Hawks broke away from deadlocked game with less than 6 minutes left in the third quarter en route to an 84-60 win over the Lady Trojans in the final quarterfinal at Nelson County’s Cardinal Gym.

“When you have two players that are determined like they are, they can make it look easy against you,”said North Hardin first-year coach Darryl Murray.

Brewer, a junior guard, finished with a career-high 44 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the floor and 19-of-25 from the foul line to surpass her previous best of 36 points.

Lisa Phillips set LaRue County’s single-game scoring record with 55 points in 1989.

Brewer’s big night came just one game after Brown set a career high for points in the Lady Hawks’ win over Caverna in the 18th District Tournament final.

“I really wasn’t trying to outdo her. I was just trying to win. I think we all were,”said Brewer, who also had 10 rebounds.

By halftime, Brewer had already posted 17 points and five rebounds. Brown, a senior wing who is considered one of the top candidates for Miss Basketball, wasn’t too far behind with 10 points and six rebounds as the Lady Hawks entered the break up 31-26.

“When you have someone who is continuing to score like that, you have to keep getting her the ball. I think we all understood that,”said Brown, who finished with 29 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

While Brown and Brewer had their way all night with the Lady Trojans (19-12), North Hardin found a way to make things interesting.

Sophomore guard Tamiah Stanford scored five points and senior post Jenna Spencer (13 points, team-high nine rebounds) scored two as North Hardin opened the second half with a 7-2 run to force a tie at 33.

The Lady Trojans’ momentum was short lived. Brewer found Brown for back-to-back baskets in the lane before Brewer scored her team’s next 10 points to give LaRue County (23-6) a 47-40 lead with 2:25 left in the third quarter. North Hardin spent the remainder of the game no closer than six points and trailed by double digits the final 9:15.

“We just had to wake up a little bit,”Brown said. “We didn’t come out of halftime with the intensity we should have. Their run woke us up and we had to get our lead back up.”

Two free throws from Spencer pulled North Hardin within 56-46 with less than 7 minutes left in the game. Brewer and Brown combined to score 13 of the game’s next 17 points as the Lady Hawks extended their lead to 71-48 with 3:38 remaining.

“We opened it up in the second half,”said LaRue County coach Travis Wootton. “Once we got rolling in the second half, we started pulling away.”

Brewer and Brown weren’t done just yet.

North Hardin senior guard Kiera Jones (team-high 18 points, four rebounds) scored on a drive through the middle of the lane to make it 71-50 before Brown and Brewer combined to score their team’s next nine points in a 13-4 run.

“There’s nothing else to say about them that hasn’t already been said,”Wootton said of the duo. “Our team knows what we do and that’s what we’re going to do.”

LaRue County advances to Saturday night’s late semifinal at 8 against 20th District champion Marion County, which beat 19th District runner-up Bardstown Bethlehem in Thursday’s early game. Marion County ended LaRue County’s season last year in the region final en route to its undefeated state championship.

“And that’s definitely in the back of our mind,”Brown said. “But we just have to come out focused and play hard like we always do.”

LaRue County beat Marion County in the regular season, 58-48 behind 24 points from Brown and 13 from Brewer.

“It wasn’t our best game, but we pulled it out,”Brewer said. “They’re a good team with a good coach, so we have to come out really focused.”