Bowling Green is headed back to Lexington.
The Lady Purples, who lost in last year’s Region 4 Tournament championship game to Barren County, avenged that defeat Saturday night by recording a 58-48 win over the defending champion Trojanettes at E.A. Diddle Arena to punch their ticket to the Girls’ Sweet Sixteen in Lexington.
“I can’t put it into words,” Bowling Green coach Calvin Head said. “I’m so proud of this group. So happy that this group gets to experience that. My gosh – Barren County’s tough. We would’ve well-represented from the Fourth Region regardless of who went. I’m ecstatic that it’s us.”
Bowling Green (28-6 overall) – which has now won two regional titles in three years – will face Region 16 champion Russell at 5:30 p.m. CT Thursday at Rupp Arena.
“Tomorrow afternoon I’ll start looking at some things,” Head said of what the plan was heading into next week. “I know we’ve got Russell from the 16th. I’ll probably start collecting film and things of that sort. We’ve got just a little bit of time.
“We’re going to enjoy this tonight and enjoy it most of tomorrow, then I’ll go back to work tomorrow night and see what we’ve got.”
Freshman Meadow Tisdale led the way for the Lady Purples with 17 points and eight rebounds, while fellow freshman Saniyah Shelton scored 15 points, senior Keyozdon Jones finished with 12 and sophomore LynKaylah James had 10.
Macy Lockhart scored 12 points for Barren County, which finished its season 28-7.
“It feels good,” Shelton said. “It feels amazing. This is my first year going to state, so we took advantage of coming in, playing hard and strong.
“Coach said everyone’s targeting us – we got a big target on our back – and we had a chip on our shoulder and had to keep pushing and make sure a game didn’t slip through our hands.”
Tisdale scored on back-to-back possessions to give Bowling Green an 8-4 lead at the 5:18 mark of the first quarter, but Raven Ennis knocked down a 3-pointer to quickly bring Barren County within 8-7.
Tisdale and Janiya Bailey scored four straight points for the Lady Purples to put them up 12-7, and James made a deep 3 from the top of the wing to make it 17-11 at the 1:32 mark.
The Trojanettes put together a 6-0 run to tie it at 17-17 early into the second, but Bowling Green fired back with one of its own – highlighted by a Shelton triple – to take a 23-17 lead.
Jones’ 3 with 1:26 remaining in the half pushed the Lady Purples’ advantage to 27-20 – and she soon hit a pair of free throws to send them into the break leading 29-24.
“It means a lot to me,” Jones said. “I had a lot of help from the beginning of the season to now with Meadow, Saniyah, LynKaylah – all the young ones. It feels great. My role was to lead – the rest they did by themselves. Put them where to go, encourage them – that was my job. The rest they did on their own.”
A pair of Ennis free throws cut Barren County’s deficit to 33-29 at the 5:37 mark of the third quarter, but Bowling Green used a 10-2 run to build a 43-31 lead – its largest of the game – with 1:54 remaining in the period.
Despite being down 12, the Trojanettes didn’t lose hope and scored the final four points of the frame to get back within single digits at 43-35 entering the fourth.
Jones’ 3 to open the final quarter – followed by one from James – put the Lady Purples up 51-37, and Tisdale converted a three-point play to move the lead to 54-37 with 3:44 remaining.
“I think it’s really great for me because of how so young I am,” Tisdale said. “I think we’ll have plenty of opportunities down the road. I’ve got three more years left, and I think I’ve got a lot ahead for me.”
Katie Murphy scored to cut Barren County’s deficit to 54-40 with 3:05 left, but Tisdale recorded a bucket on the other end and Bowling Green remained in front to come out on top and claim the trophy.
“They were able to score the ball,” Barren County coach Piper Lindsey said. “They hit some 3s that they hadn’t been hitting. Hats off to them – they played a heck of a game. They had a great game plan. They took Elizabeth (Bertram) out of it, but I thought it was still pretty incredible that we scored 48 points and she had six.”
BCHS – 13 11 11 13 — 48
BGHS – 17 12 14 15 — 58
BC: Macy Lockhart 12, Karleigh Delk 10, Raven Ennis 10, Elizabeth Bertram 6, Katie Murphy 5, Eve Jackson 5.
BG: Meadow Tisdale 17, Saniyah Shelton 15, Keyozdon Jones 12, LynKaylah James 10, Janiya Bailey 4.
Girls’ Region 4 All-Tournament Team:
- Keyozdon Jones, Bowling Green
- Raven Ennis, Barren County
- Dynasti Page, Glasgow
- Caroline Forrester, Warren East
- Peyton Vanzant, Logan County
- Meadow Tisdale, Bowling Green
- Juliah Bault, Russell County
- Ashanti Gore, Glasgow
- Jaycie Harper, Metcalfe County
- Paige Vanzant, Logan County
- Lucy Patterson, Warren East
- Star Marcum, Russell County
- Kennedy Nichols, Logan County
- Saniyah Shelton, Bowling Green
- Elizabeth Bertram, Barren County