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2021 KHSAA Girl’s Sweet 16 Day 1: Sacred Heart and Bowling Green advance

(Photo courtesy of Les Nicholson)

(Photo courtesy of Les Nicholson)

The 2021 KHSAA Girl’s Sweet 16 Tournament is officially underway at Rupp Arena and we’ve got the coverage you need to know after the first two games of the opening round. Alex Weber was in attendance for Sacred Heart-Knott County Central while Zack Geoghegan brought the action from Bowling Green-Bishop Brossart. Grant Grubbs will bring you the action for the two late games on Wednesday night.

Let’s dive into the recap from the day’s first two contests.

Sacred Heart Academy 64, Knott County Central 32

In the opening game of the 2021 KHSAA Girl’s Sweet 16 Tournament, Sacred Heart Academy (Louisville) defeated Knott County Central in a decisive fashion. The Valkyries of Sacred Heart doubled up the Lady Patriots, 64-32, in a blowout win to advance to the Elite Eight of the Girl’s Basketball Championship.

The game started off competitively; Sacred Heart was clearly the more talented team but Knott County Central stayed in the game throughout the first quarter by hitting a trio of three-pointers. But in the second quarter, SHA put their foot on the gas and ran it up to a 25-point game by the end of the half.

The Valkyries’ assertion on defense drove their huge run at the end of the second quarter. From the midway point of the first quarter and on, SHA pressed and trapped, quite physically. Junior point guard Triniti Ralston was the fastest player on the court and she was all over the Knott Central ballhandlers. Trapping with her at the top of the halfcourt was fellow junior Josie Gilvin, who is one heck of a basketball player.

She was easily the player of the game today and was left in during the final minutes to try and chase a triple-double–which she got. She finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and 10 STEALS; just an absurd individual stat line for a high school game. Gilvin stands 5-foot-11–forward size for high school girls–but played a lot of point guard, guided the top of Sacred Heart’s trap defense and led the team in rebounds and assists. I should also mention: Gilvin finished 20th in the Girls State Cross Country Meet last October. She’s an athlete.

(Photo courtesy of Les Nicholson)

With her and Ralston creating chaos at the top, Knott County Central never was able to settle in and get open looks. The only clean shots they got off came from the three-point line, where they shot a solid 5-14 (35%). They were actually worse on two-point attempts, shooting just 5-20 (25%) against smothering Sacred Heart defense.

Sacred Heart rolled behind Gilvin and Ralston on defense and were led in scoring by Gilvin (13) and freshman Reagan Bender who finished with 21.

All-around impressive performance by Sacred Heart. They look as dangerous as anyone heading into the quarterfinal round. As for Knott County Central, a heck of a season by coach Jeff Honeycutt and his girls to win the 14th region and play in Rupp Arena for a chance at a championship. Too bad it had to end like this.

Sacred Heart will play the winner of Bowling Green and Bishop Brossart on Friday at 11 a.m. in Rupp Arena. — Alex Weber

(Photo courtesy of Les Nicholson)

Bowling Green 50, Bishop Brossart 48 (2 OT)

In a rare double-overtime event, the Bowling Green Purples (19-10) were able to fend off the Bishop Brossart Lady ‘Stangs (21-6) by a final score of 50-48 in the first round of the 2021 KHSAA Girl’s Sweet 16 Tournament.

Offense was hard to come by early on, with both sides struggling to hit shots in the opening minutes of action. Rosie Jump scored first for Brossart while Lynkaylah James put up the first two points for Bowling Green. Through the first five minutes of play, Brossart held a slight 4-3 lead.

A couple of minutes later, with the score still 4-3, Bishop Brossart canned its first 3-pointer of the day to take a 7-3 lead with roughly 60 seconds left in the first quarter. The Purples would quickly answer courtesy of a tough layup at the rim for Tanaya Bailey, cutting the Lady ‘Stands lead down to just two at 7-5.

The leading scorers for both teams, James for Bowling Green and Marie Kiefer for Brossart, were off the mark in the first period. After eight minutes, the two stars combined for just four points on a 1-8 shooting clip. It would take a while for either to get in a groove, but James’ Bowling Green teammates stepped up first.

Back-to-back scores from Meadow Tisdale, the Purples second-leading scorer, to begin the second frame put Bowling Green ahead 9-7. She was held scoreless in the first quarter before waking up in the second. Bowling Green would add another bucket, extending its lead to 11-7. At the under-three-minute media timeout, the Purples led 12-7 as Brossart had yet to score in the period.

A tip-in layup with roughly 2:30 left in the first half from Bowling Green’s Emma Husky grew the lead even more at 15-7 before Brossart finally got on the board. A triple from Laureen Macht put the Lady ‘Stangs down 15-10 with two minutes left as the offense from both sides began to pick up down the stretch.

(Photo courtesy of Les Nicholson)

Brossart rattled off an 8-2 run in the final two minutes to bring the Bowling Green lead down to just 17-15 at the halftime break. James was up to four points and eight rebounds, but on a 1-8 shooting clip while Kiefer was at a mere 1-6. Both players were also dealing with two fouls.

Bowling Green would open up the third quarter with a quick 4-0 spurt, but Brossart had plenty of answers. An and-1 conversion from Jump cut the Purples lead down to 21-19 with five minutes in the period as both sides would go back-and-forth the rest of the way. The Lady ‘Stangs eventually took its first lead since early in the opening quarter following a 3-pointer from Macht that made it 25-23 in favor of Bishop Brossart.

A pair of free throws from Tisdale would tie the game back up at 25-25 but Kiefer and Jump scored two timely buckets to make it 29-25 heading into the fourth quarter with Brossart back in front.

The fourth quarter was about the same as the third, with both teams trading blows. Bowling Green struck first, running off a 5-0 stretch that gave them a 30-29 advantage before Brossart countered with two massive 3-pointers, pushing the Lady ‘Stangs in front 35-30 just a little over two minutes into the fourth quarter.

Bowling wouldn’t go away quietly, though, slowly chipping away at the five-point Brossart lead. A tip-in from Tisdale cut the Lady Stangs’ lead to 36-34 before Bailey tied the game at 37 with 70 seconds to go. A potential game-winning halfcourt buzzer-beater from Bowling Green nearly fell in but we ultimately went overtime.

The Purples score first in the extra period, taking a 39-37 lead before a layup from Brossart’s Molly Kramer tied the game up once again. A made triple from Brossart with 63 seconds remaining gave them a two-point lead but James responded right back for Bowling Green to bring the game back to a tie. At the end of the first overtime period, both sides were stuck at 43.

Bowling Green opened the final overtime with a big triple but three free throws from Brossart brought the game back to another tie at 46-46. Tisdale came up big for the Purples, giving them a two-point lead with 1:39 left. Macht came back with a layup for Brossart as it was knotted up at 48-48 with just 60 seconds left.

The biggest shots of the game from Bailey, who hit two clutch free throws to put Bowling Green ahead 50-48, and the Purples would hold strong on the final possession to earn the two-point win.

James posted 15 points and an incredible 19 rebounds for Bowling Green while Tisdale added 14 points and four rebounds on 6-8 shooting. As a team, the Purples shot just 35.4 percent but held Bishop Brossart to an even lower 30.6 percent. Kiefer, a Ball State commit who fouled out in the fourth quarter for the Lady ‘Stangs, contributed seven points, 10 rebounds, and nine blocks on a 3-13 shooting clip. Macht and Jump were the leading scorers for Brossart, adding 16 and 15 points, respectively.

The victory puts Bowling Green into the second round where they’ll take on Sacred Heart Academy on Friday at 11 a.m. — Zack Geoghegan

Article written by Alex Weber

@alexweberKSR on Twitter.