BOWLING GREEN — The Battle of Louisville turned out to be a mismatch Wednesday.
Male throttled Mercy 78-59 in the first round of the Houchens Industries/KHSAA Girls' Sweet Sixteen in E.A. Diddle Arena.
I'Liyah Green, a 6-foot-1 junior, missed a triple-double by one block, finishing with 25 points, 14 rebounds and nine blocks. Nine blocks ties a tournament record set by Assumption's Jenni Benningfield in 1999 against Hopkins County Central.
Emilia Sexton added 23 points in front of 4,819 fans.
Never miss a local story.
The Bulldogs (24-4) advanced to Friday's quarterfinals, where they will take on Henderson County.
Henderson whipped Male 47-28 on Jan. 30.
"It (seems) like yesterday because we got our heads just beat in and handed to us," Male Coach Champ Ligon said. "... I was really hoping when the draw originally happened that we'd get another shot at Henderson County.
"It's a challenge. They're a great team. They absolutely just destroyed us that night and they haven't backed up any."
Male didn't back up after Mercy (26-7) jumped to a 12-4 lead.
Ligon called a timeout and his team went on a 29-2 run.
Male led 36-21 at halftime and was never threatened.
"We came out not so good," Green said. "But they gave me the ball and, when I got it, I tried to go score. If I didn't have it, I passed it back out and they executed."
Male committed 35 turnovers but grabbed 52 rebounds, while Mercy had 25 errors and 33 boards. The Jaguars shot 11.1 percent (3 of 27) from three-point range.
"Wow! I didn't see this coming," Mercy Coach Keith Baisch said. "I definitely thought we'd be playing on Friday. Just the way that we've been playing and things like that — the way this group has come together.
"Give Male all the credit in the world. They were lights out tonight and, unfortunately, we weren't."
Hannah Bewley led Mercy with 14 points and seven rebounds. Jessica Laemmle had 12 points.
Cov. Holy Cross 51, Bell Co. 33: A pair of three-point quarters proved costly to Bell County. The Bobcats were outscored 9-3 in the first quarter and 15-3 in the fourth.
All "A" state champion Holy Cross (30-3) will face Elizabethtown in Friday's quarterfinals.
"Our focus coming in was defense, and that's what we do," Coach Kes Murphy said after his Indians won their 19th game in a row. "That's what we're all about — working hard, talking on defense, minimizing gaps. And obviously we had to focus on Maci (Morris) today. She's a great player and we just tried to limit her shots as much as possible, and I think we did a pretty good job of that."
Morris, a University of Kentucky signee, led Bell (29-3) with 17 points and nine rebounds. She struggled, though, shooting 7-for-27 from the field.
"I don't know if it's just nerves or what," Morris said. "I didn't have a good offensive game. It happens."
Deja Turner led Holy Cross with 15 points. Ally Mayhaus had 14 points and 12 rebounds. Aleah Tucker added 10 points, and Dajah McClendon doled out nine assists.
The Indians blew the game open with a 12-0 run in the fourth quarter, pushing the lead to 48-31.
"It was just a rough night, especially offensively for us," Bobcats Coach David Teague said. "I thought we came out a little tight at the beginning of the game and stuff, and didn't allow ourself to get settled. Missed some shots and things. We've shot the ball real well all year, and that's the thing that probably got us a little bit tonight. But you give credit to Holy Cross. They did a really good job defensively."
Bell finished 13 of 44 (29.5 percent) from the field.
Elizabethtown 79, Mercer County 38: Elizabethtown lived up to its top-ranked billing.
Erin Boley totaled 24 points and nine rebounds as E-town overwhelmed Mercer County.
Reauna Cleaver backed up Boley with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Darien Huff added 13 points and Jada Stinson had 12.
The Panthers (32-2) will face Covington Holy Cross in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Mercer County (29-4) was led by Seygan Robins with 13 points and six rebounds. Heidi Huffman scored 11 points.
E-town closed the first quarter on a 9-0 run to lead 22-11.
By halftime, the lead was 46-22. The Panthers shot 70.8 percent (17 of 24) from the field, while Mercer went 25.9 percent (7 of 27). Boley led the way with 17 first-half points and 8 of 9 accuracy.
E-town scored the first 10 points of the second half and kept on rolling.
The Panthers outrebounded the Titans 43-20 and outshot them 60.5 percent (26 of 43) to 21.8 percent (12 of 55).