Lady Purples punch ticket to 13th straight Region 4 tourney

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Bowling Green is headed to its 13 consecutive Region 4 Tournament. 

The Lady Purples, the top seed in the District 14 Tournament, rolled past fifth-seeded Greenwood 66-37 in the semifinals on Tuesday night to earn a spot in Thursday’s district championship game and next week’s regional tournament at Western Kentucky University’s E.A. Diddle Arena. 

“We focused on today, just trying to punch the ticket and get there,” Bowling Green coach Calvin Head said. “Once you get there, anything can happen. We’ve had a great year, but none of that matters right now. We were just focused on tonight and just trying to get to the regional tournament.”

BGHS (24-6 overall) used a strong opening quarter – outscoring Greenwood 25-4 – to build a comfortable lead and later took a 43-11 advantage into halftime. The Lady Purples remained in front throughout the second half and never looked back.

Keyozdon Jones and Saniyah Shelton each finished with 19 points to lead Bowling Green.

Leia Trinh paced the Lady Gators, who finished the season 13-16 overall, with 11 points.

Bowling Green couldn’t have asked for a better start.

“It was very big for us,” Jones said. “We just come out every game and just take it one game at a time and just play as hard as we can. Just do the fundamental things and come out and win.” 

The Lady Purples jumped out to a 9-0 lead and quickly had a 17-2 advantage at the 4:37 mark of the first quarter. Annee Lasley scored inside for Greenwood after a pair of Emma Huskey free throws, but Bowling Green closed the period with an 8-0 run to go up 25-4 after one. 

Bowling Green remained hot in the second, opening it with a 9-0 spurt – highlighted by four points from Shelton – to push its lead to 34-4 at the 5:00 mark. The Lady Gators scored five straight points to get within 36-11, but the Lady Purples scored the final seven points of the half to go up 43-11.

“I thought, defensively, our energy was through the roof,” Head said. “When we’re flying around like that, (getting) deflections, we’re talking on defense, we’re rotating to the correct spots – playing at that level of defensive intensity.”

Greenwood outscored Bowling Green 16-14 in the third quarter, but the Lady Purples still led 57-27 entering the fourth. Taking advantage of that cushion, they were able to cruise through the final frame and move on to the next round. 

“They came out in an intense fashion – and we didn’t,” Greenwood coach Zach Simpson said. “That was the difference in the game. We’ve gotta understand and hopefully we can learn from this and move on.”

Bowling Green will face the winner of No. 2 Warren East and No. 3 South Warren at 6 p.m. Thursday. 

“It feels good,” Shelton said of being able to advance to the title game and region tournament. “We know we still have to go to the next level and win so we can go to state.”

GHS –    4      7    16   10   —   37

BGHS – 25   18   14    9    —   66

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