Like any season, basketball season is a time of change and growth. Nell Fookes, coach of No. 6 Boone County, hopes that's what this basketball season is for her team.
"Our team has to grow up and do it soon," said Fookes, whose Rebels survived a late scare before topping Franklin County, 52-47, at the Republic Bank Holiday Classic at Lexington Catholic on Monday night. "Until they grow up and have some confidence, that's going to happen to us."
That "that" was a game that went from a 20-point Boone blowout to a two-point contest in the final 40 seconds. "We've got good players, but they don't make the right decisions at the right time," said Fookes, who was without her injured starting point guard.
After weathering a stall pattern by the Rebs in the final four minutes of the game, the Flyers cut the lead to two points, 49-47, with 38 seconds to go on Ashli Mayes' two made free throws. "We could have rolled over and played dead, and we didn't," Franklin Coach Joey Thacker said.
Boone (5-2) responded by making three of its final five free throws to win its fourth straight game.
With University of Kentucky Coach Matthew Mitchell taking in the game, junior Sydney Moss scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds. Fookes called Moss a "stabilizing force for us."
Despite being under the weather, Moss also had four blocked shots, three assists and two steals.
Franklin County (4-1) suffered its first loss of the season after being the last unbeaten in the 11th Region. The Flyers were coming off an upset of No. 11 Clay County in the first round and were eyeing another one.
Thacker was pleased with his team, even after a loss.
"If we can that kind of effort we got in the second half against the No. 6 team in the state of Kentucky, we'll be all right," he said.
The Flyers were led by Brittany Mello's 14 points. Mayes added 12 points. Lydia Nash added 13 points and nine rebounds for the Rebels, who have yet to lose to an in-state opponent.
They get defending state champion Mercy in the quarterfinals Tuesday afternoon.
Lou. Christian 72, Lexington Catholic 50: The Knights had a tie game going with a minute left in the first half before the Centurions used a 23-2 run over two quarters to put the game away.
Catholic Coach Chelsea Chowning questioned her team's toughness afterward.
"As soon as we get knocked down a couple of times — whether it be literally or figuratively speaking — we just don't respond," she said. "We don't have a sense of urgency. I can't find five people to come out there and do their part."
Kate Joss led the way for Louisville Christian (5-1) with 22 points. China Dow added 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Octavia Wilson had 15 points for Catholic (3-4).
No. 5 Mercy 65, St. Joseph, W.Va. 51: The defending state champion Jaguars (6-0) ran away with it in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Irish 21-9.
Reserve Kayla Richardson led three players in double figures with 17 points. Juliann Miller added 16 points, and Whitney Hartlage 15 points in the win.
No. 9 Bowling Green 61, No. 7 Perry Co. Central 47: After falling behind 6-0, the Purples went on a 16-2 run to take control. The Commodores (5-1) pulled within five points 37-32 out of the half, but Bowling Green was able to use an 11-2 run to erase any doubts. Zoe Sibalich's 21 points paced Bowling Green. Adrienne Tarrence had a monster night with 17 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals.
No. 10 Elizabethtown 58, No. 19 Anderson Co. 47: Guard Natalie Greenwell scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed four rebounds for E-town, which shot 51.3 percent from the field. Adelaide Luckett and Kaylyn Cecil added 12 points apiece for the Panthers, who remained unbeaten at 8-0 and face unbeaten No. 2 Manual in the next round.
No. 1 Marion Co. 55, Community School (Fla.) 41: Makayla Epps scored 17 points and Bre Elder added 16 for the Knights. Patrice Tonge added 12 points for the winners.
No. 2 Manual 48, Newport Central Catholic 39: Leasia Wright scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Crimsons, who scored 17 points off NewCath miscues.
No. 12 Sacred Heart 64, No. 15 Ryle 59: The Valkyries nearly squandered an early 18-2 lead, but pulled it together in time to hold off a surging Ryle, whose Abby Jump scored her 1,000th point.
Tuesday at Lexington Catholic
Winner’s bracket: Manual vs. Elizabethtown, noon; Marion Co. vs. Sacred Heart, 2; Bowling Green vs. Lou. Christian, 3:30; Mercy vs. Boone Co., 5 Consolation games: Newport Central Catholic vs. Anderson Co. and Community School (Fla.) vs. Ryle, 9 a.m.; Perry Co. Central vs. Lexington Catholic and St. Joseph, W.Va. vs. Franklin Co., 10:30; Conner vs. Dayton Dunbar, noon; Ballard vs. Owensboro Catholic, 3:30 p.m.; North Laurel vs. Butler, 7; Knott Co. Central vs. Assumption, 8:30