Sports

Girls' Sweet Sixteen: Montgomery advances on shot at :01.6

BOWLING GREEN — When the game was on the line, a play was drawn up for senior guard Mackenzie Lee.

Despite it being the waning seconds of a first-round game in the Houchens Industries Sweet Sixteen, the Montgomery County senior said she had no butterflies, no jitters.

She calmly went back onto the floor and did what her coach asked.

"We've been in a couple of close games at the state tournament, so I just looked at it as another play; I don't really think of it as the end of the game," Lee said.

Just as it was drawn up, the senior drove the lane, sliced through three Louisville Christian defenders and banked in the game winner with 1.6 seconds left to give Montgomery County a 35-33 victory in Diddle Arena on Wednesday.

"She's the one I want to have it at the end," Coach Janie Robinson said. "She's a senior; she's not ready to be finished."

The Indians, ranked No. 9 in Dave Cantrall's final Rating the State, will face No. 6 Iroquois in Friday's quarterfinals.

Lee had eight points, five rebounds and three steals to pace the Indians, who won their 10th straight.

Louisville Christian couldn't get the ball past halfcourt on its final play.

"It's a tough way to go out," Louisville Christian Coach Don Rice said after the loss. "Normally, when we hold a team under 50 points, we win the ball game."

But this time the opponent had Lee.

Fellow Indians senior Elizabeth Prewitt, who also had eight points for Montgomery, just seemed to know that Lee's shot was going in.

"Most of the time I go in for the rebound, but this time I just stood and watched," Prewitt said. "I was thinking, 'Please, go in.' "

Montgomery County's seven seniors were returning to Diddle Arena for the fifth straight time, which might have given them the edge late.

"We were the ones who were more relaxed today," Robinson said. "It was from having been here. ... We looked relaxed, and I really think it's the experience."

Montgomery County (28-3) used a 12-2 run in the second quarter to grab an 18-10 lead, its largest of the game.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Louisville Christian was able to work its way back into it with a 9-2 run to take a 31-30 lead with four minutes to play.

Annie Garland stopped the run with a three-pointer from the left corner before the Centurions (25-5) made two of four free throws to tie it at 33 with 1:15 remaining.

In December, after Louisville Christian topped Montgomery 40-35 in a holiday tournament, Robinson questioned her team's late-game fortitude.

Not this time, not this game.

"Mentally, I thought we were tougher at the end this time," she said.

The Centurions were led by Louisville commitment Antonita Slaughter's 14 points and five rebounds.

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