RICHMOND — Madison Central had just enough to hold off Scott County, 58-56, in Wednesday's first round of the girls' 11th Region Basketball Tournament.
Brooke Todd and Lakeena Parks, each with 19 points, were the inside story in Dunbar's 73-55 victory over Frankfort, the nightcap in Eastern Kentucky University's McBrayer Arena.
So it will be the Indians against the Bulldogs in Saturday's semifinals.
"It was a little too close for comfort," said Ashton Feldhaus, who totaled 26 points and 13 rebounds for Madison Central. "But that was a good win for us."
Larryn Brooks added 23 points for the 11th-rated Indians (27-4). Shadae Bosley had six points and 12 rebounds.
Scott County (20-12) built a 36-31 lead when Central called for a timeout with 3:47 left in the third quarter.
"We were pretty vocal. No profanity or anything like that, but pretty vocal," Coach Robbie Cooksey said. "We got to the point where we had to do something right then. ... The kids responded excellent."
Especially Feldhaus, who scored four straight points en route to a 14-4 spurt that put the Indians on top 45-40 through three quarters.
"(Cooksey) was like 'this could be your last game. Where do you want to take off your jersey?' ... We looked at each other just like 'let's go!'"
Scott County came as close as two points twice in the fourth quarter, the final time on Laura Szorenyi's buzzer beater.
The Cardinals, who had as many as seven players out with injuries this season — including four ACL victims — got a 23-point, 11-rebound effort by Tereka Guyn. Szorenyi had 22 points, while Iman Guy and Danielle Defoor each grabbed 10 rebounds. Defoor also scored eight points.
"Bob Seger sings 'Running Against the Wind,'" Scott County Coach Steve Helton said. "Seems like we've been running against the wind all year long. (My team) just battled. They executed the game plan. We've had our highs and lows, but they get the credit for coming out and believing in it. ... Madison Central, they're one of the most talented teams in the state of Kentucky. Their experience showed, especially late in the third quarter.
"But our kids, they never did waver. Our kids battled and battled."
Central finished with an 11-3 advantage in points off turnovers and 25-8 at the free-throw line. Feldhaus and Brooks combined for all 13 of their team's field goals.
"Once we got the momentum," Feldhaus said, "we just kept pushing."
No. 23 Dunbar (17-11), the defending region champ and a Final Four team in the State Tournament last year, counteracted Frankfort's speed demons by battering the Panthers on the boards.
Dunbar's 60 rebounds doubled Frankfort's total. The Bulldogs finished with advantages of 40-28 points in the paint and 14-0 second-effort points, as well as 20-5 at the free-throw line.
Todd, a 6-foot-2 junior, grabbed 17 rebounds. Parks, a 5-10 senior, added 15.
"Coming into the game we knew we had an advantage in the post, so that's where we wanted to go," Coach Sarah Bridenbaugh said. " 'Keena and Brooke led us, and we wanted to get them the most shots in our half-court offense. Any team that wants to run, we're going to run with them. ... They were quicker than us, but I thought when it came time we really got the ball where we were supposed to, inside, and our posts finished."
Shakeema Jackson added 11 points for the winners. Kierra Muhammad had nine points and Jordin Fender eight, each dishing out four assists.
Shauntae Brown scored 18 for Frankfort (19-9) and her twin Shanae had 12 points and nine rebounds.
Dunbar scored the last five points of the first half and the first six of the second half to turn a one-point lead into a 42-30 advantage.
The closest Frankfort came after that was seven, 62-55, when Brianna Burbridge drove to the basket with 3:43 left.
The Panthers didn't score again, though.
Madison Central 58, Scott Co. 56
SCOTT CO. (20-12) — Guyn 23, Guy 0, Hawkins 3, Defoor 8, Szorenyi 22. Totals 21-66 8-12 56.
MADISON CENTRAL (27-4) — Feldhaus 26, Bosley 6, O'Bryan 1, Brooks 23, Hinkle 2. Totals 13-42 25-39 58.
Scott County 12 16 12 16—56
Madison Central 17 9 19 13—58
Three-point goals — SC 6-20, MC 7-18.
paul Dunbar 73, Frankfort 55
PAUL DUNBAR (17-11) — Todd 19, Parks 19, Fender 8, Jackson 11, Edwards 7, Muhammad 9. Totals 25-57 20-28 73.
FRANKFORT (19-9) — Jouett 0, Washington 4, Shanae Brown 12, Shauntae Brown 18, Russell 7, Burbridge 8, Cunningham 6. Totals 22-70 5-13 55.
Paul Dunbar 22 14 21 16—73
Frankfort 13 17 16 9—55
Three-point goals — D 3-6, F 6-26.
Madison Central 58, Scott Co. 56
Paul Dunbar 73, Frankfort 55
6:30 p.m. — Lafayette (19-12) vs. Madison Southern (12-19)
8:15 p.m. — Bryan Station (18-10) vs. Franklin Co. (22-10)
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229 Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL.Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com