After a 12-year drought, Barren County is back on top.
The Trojanettes – who entered the Girls’ Region 4 Tournament as the favorite to win it – lived up to their title, defeating Bowling Green, 47-35, on Tuesday night at E.A. Diddle Arena to capture their first regional championship since 2007.
“It’s a great feeling,” Barren County coach Piper Lindsey said. “It’s one that I really can’t describe. It’s almost too good to be true to be able to do this. I’m proud of the girls and proud of all the kids that played and how hard they’ve worked from Day 1. They’ve really trusted the process, trusted the coaching staff and trusted each other to get where they are.
“I’m just so proud of ‘em.”
Barren County – now 31-4 on the season – played a competitive, back-and-forth game with Bowling Green but used a dominant fourth quarter and made clutch plays down the stretch to hold off the Purples and come out on top.
The Trojanettes trailed 10-7 after the opening quarter before getting within a point at 19-18 at halftime. BCHS continued to battle in the second half and was able to take a 29-27 lead into the fourth before outscoring Bowling Green 18-8 in the final period to earn a 12-point victory.
Barren County held Bowling Green – which finished its season 26-8 overall – to just 12-of-50 (24 percent) shooting from the field, while also forcing the Lady Purples to commit 13 turnovers.
“They believe. They believe in what we’re trying to do,” Lindsey said of her team’s defensive effort. “They trust it. It’s all about buying in, and I’m so glad they do exactly what they’re supposed to do. They’re quick, they know what they’re supposed to do, and they finish with box outs. I thought we did a good job all-around for the most part.”
Elizabeth Bertram led the way for the Trojanettes with a game-high 16 points and four assists, while McKenzie England finished with 10 points, five rebounds and five assists. In addition to that duo, Bailey Pedigo scored 8 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to round out the stat sheet.
BCHS shot 16-of-39 (41 percent) from the floor and tallied 14 assists on its 16 makes. The Trojanettes shot 41 percent or better in each quarter but the first, including a 75 percent (3-of-4) showing in the third.
“It’s like I told everyone else, progressing from freshman year to senior year – it’s crazy,” England said. “Thinking we went from 12 wins to 31 wins now, that’s crazy. It feels great. It just feels great.”
With Barren County’s win, it now advances to the 2019 KHSAA Girls’ Sweet Sixteen State Basketball Tournament, which begins March 13 at Rupp Arena in Lexington.
The Trojanettes will meet Region 15 champion Pikeville (27-7) at 11 a.m. CT March 14 in the opening round.
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“We’ve gotta rest a little bit, but of course the girls are gonna be chomping at the bit ready to go,” said Lindsey. “We’ve gotta be ready to go next Thursday.”
Bowling Green led 19-12 at the 5:24 mark of the second quarter after Keyozdon Jones made back-to-back 3-pointers, but Barren County answered with a 6-0 run to cut their deficit to 19-18 at the break.
Back-to-back baskets from Pedigo to open the third pushed that run to 10-0 and put the Trojanettes up 22-19, helping them inherit much momentum.
Things remained competitive down the stretch, and a pair of Meadow Tisdale free throws gave the Lady Purples a 27-25 lead at the 2:17 mark of the third. However, Barren County closed the period with buckets from England and Karleigh Delk to be up 29-27 entering the fourth.
That’s when the Trojanettes went to work.
“It was huge,” Barren County guard Mallory Pedigo said. “We knew that if we won that quarter we would win the game, so we just put our heads together and made it happen.”
With the game tied 29-all with 7:22 remaining, Barren County put together a dominant 10-0 run to build a 39-29 advantage with 3:36 left. Bowling Green attempted to make a comeback, but the Trojanettes’ aggressive defense kept it from doing that and BCHS was crowned champion.
Keyozdon Jones finished with 11 points to lead the Lady Purples, while T’Alla Brown tallied 10.
BGHS – 10 9 8 8 — 35
BCHS – 7 11 11 18 — 47
BGHS – Jones 11, Brown 10, Shelton 6, Ragland 4, Tisdale 3, Gray 1.
BCHS – Bertram 16, England 10, B. Pedigo 8, Bush 4, Murphy 3, Delk 2, Ennis 2, M. Pedigo 2.