Barren County’s rally comes up short in 63-49 loss to Male in state quarterfinals

Editor’s Note: This story was written by Cameron Brown.


LEXINGTON – Barren County’s remarkable season comes to a halt at 32 victories.

The Trojanettes dug themselves into an early hole against Louisville Male and
rallied in the second half but could never surge out in front of the Lady Bulldogs in
a 63-49 loss in the quarterfinals of the KHSAA Girls Sweet Sixteen® Basketball
Tournament at Rupp Arena on Friday night.

“I thought from the start we struggled a little bit to score,” Barren County coach
Piper Lindsey said. “(Male’s) defense is obviously pretty tough. But credit these
girls. We could’ve folded in the first quarter and just let it out go and walked off
the floor with a 30-point deficit. But we didn’t. Extremely proud of the girls to
continue to stay in the fight.”

McKenzie England led Barren County with 16 points while drilling a game-high
four 3-pointers, and Elizabeth Bertram added 14 points. Bailey and Mallory Pedigo
tallied seven and eight points, respectively for the Trojanettes—the twin sisters
also combining to dish out nine of Barren County’s 14 assists.

Georgia State signee Joelle Johnson led Male with a double-double of 24 points
and 10 rebounds as the Lady Bulldog senior went 10-of-14 from the field.

Male (24-7) took control of the game early as the Lady Bulldogs raced out to a 14-
2 lead at the first media timeout and held a 16-6 advantage after one quarter.

The Lady Bulldogs built their lead up to as much as 26-12 with 3:37 to go before
halftime on a jumper by Destiny Combs, but the Trojanettes ended the half on an
8-4 run to close the gap to 10 at the intermission—McKenzie England stepping
out and knocking down two timely trifectas for Barren County.

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The Trojanettes (32-5) trailed by as many as 13 points in the third quarter but put
together a nice run at the end of third quarter as a 3-pointer by England and a
layup in transition by Bertram whittled the deficit to 45-40 going into the final
frame.

The two teams traded baskets to start the fourth before England netted her
fourth 3-pointer of the night to make the score 50-45 with 4:26 left in regulation.

That would be the closest Barren County would get the remainder of the game as
Male ended the game on a 13-4 run to punch its ticket to the semifinals.

“I got to give Barren County credit,” Male coach Champ Ligon, Jr. said. “They’re a
really good team and they made that late run at as. We responded by sticking the
dagger in it at the foul line, getting some rebounds, and playing defense.”

Even though the season did not end the way the Barren County seniors wanted it
to, playing their final game in Rupp Arena was still an appropriate end to a playing
career that each of the Trojanettes have thoroughly enjoyed.

“To play my last game as a Trojanette at Rupp means a lot,” said England, who
was named to the all-tournament team. “I couldn’t ask for a better team to have
or a better team to hold me accountable. I couldn’t ask for better coaches or
better fan support. It just means a lot.”

This senior class has brought Barren County back into prominence by building and
building one season at a time, and Lindsey says that they have laid the foundation
for a bright future for Trojanette basketball.

“They got us back on the map. They were freshmen when I first got here. We
were 12-16 their freshmen year, and each year we got a little bit better. We
finally made it to the region their sophomore year, we won the district their junior
year, and then we finally doubled up and won the district and region their senior
year. For them to be able to do that in the quick turnaround and how they did
that in four years…that speaks volumes.”

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