Rockets roll for first Sweet Sixteen win
BOWLING GREEN — Rockcastle County Coach Chrysti Noble walked into the media room following her team's 69-36 win over Murray and grinned.
"It's nice to walk in here smiling; the past five times I've been back here I've been crying," she said.
Not only did Rockcastle County pick up its first Houchens Industries/KHSAA Girls' Sweet Sixteen win in school history Thursday, the Rockets had the look of a team that will to hang around for a while. Rockcastle had gone winless in its five previous trips to the Sweet Sixteen, the first coming in 1997 and the last in 2008.
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"In the past we weren't as confident as we are this year," said junior forward Sara Hammond, who was making her third appearance in the Sweet Sixteen. "This team has played together for a while and our confidence is high."
Rockcastle (28-4) jumped out to a 17-0 lead over No. 17 Murray and kept its foot on the gas.
Murray Coach Rechelle Turner focused her game plan on stopping Hammond, and that helped free up senior forward Jackie Alexander for 20 points and eight rebounds.
Hammond still managed to put up 17 points and 10 rebounds. Junior point guard Angie Lawrence scored nine points, dished out six assists and grabbed three steals.
Murray, which finished the season 30-5, made its only other trip to the Sweet Sixteen in 1997. The Lady Tigers were led by freshman guard Janssen Starks' 16 points.
Clark County 67, Ohio County 63 (2OT): Jewell Rogers swiped the ball away before the Eagles could go for the game-winner and helped the Cardinals (19-10) win with two free throws.
Brittany Black had 22 points to lead the Cards. Shami Williams added 12 points and Rogers 10 points. Arielle Keown and Sarah Wood had 16 points apiece for Ohio County (24-8), which had its 15-game win streak halted.
No. 6 Boone County 48, No. 3 Bowling Green 44: Sophomore Sydney Moss was the headliner for Boone with 28 points and 16 rebounds, but the Rebels wouldn't have pulled it out if not for several huge plays by senior point guard Heather Sandlin.
Sandlin hit two fourth-quarter three-pointers, including one at 2:24 that put Boone ahead for good at 42-40. Sandlin added two free throws at the 1:15 mark that extended the lead to 46-42.
"She's been huge for us all year," Fookes said. "When she was a freshman, I always had her around me because I knew she was the kind of kid you wanted to keep in your program."
Sandlin didn't take a shot from the field in the first half, but with Bowling Green focusing on Moss, she found some openings in the second, including the big three-pointer.
The Lady Rebels (28-3) extended their winning streak to 18 games while ending Bowling Green's streak at 23. Senior guard Erica Smith scored 21 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out four assists for the Purples (28-3).
"When we were making our comeback, they just made the plays to win the game," Bowling Green Coach Lavonda Johnson said.