High School Basketball

Hammond leads Kentucky girls past Indiana All-Stars

Indiana All-Star Akyah Taylor, right, reached for a loose ball and got Kentucky All-Star Sara Hammond's wrist in the first half. Hammond had 21 points.
Indiana All-Star Akyah Taylor, right, reached for a loose ball and got Kentucky All-Star Sara Hammond's wrist in the first half. Hammond had 21 points.

LOUISVILLE — Score one for Kentucky's Miss Basketball over Indiana's Miss Basketball.

More important, score one for the Kentucky All-Stars, who defeated their Indiana counterparts 64-57 Friday night in Bellarmine University's Knights Hall.

Kentucky's 6-foot-2 Sara Hammond (Rockcastle County/Louisville) finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks and a steal, plus three assists to counter two turnovers.

Indiana's 5-10 Bria Goss, who will play for the University of Kentucky, had 23 points, five boards and four steals, but she also had seven turnovers and no assists.

With Kentucky clinging to a 59-55 lead inside the final minute, Goss tried to halve the deficit. Hammond swatted away the shot and Kentucky went on to take a 61-55 lead with 13 seconds left.

"Bria is a great player and she showed tonight why she is the No. 1 player in the state of Indiana," said Hammond, who agreed that the showdown of No. 1 players was big. "Definitely, because it was one-on-one, it was isolated, I wanted to get the block on that just because I'm competitive and I wanted to win."

The teams will meet a second time Saturday night at Indianapolis with Kentucky looking for its first sweep since 2008. Indiana leads the all-time series 39-32, and the teams split last year.

"We've talked about (a sweep) a little bit," Coach Chris Stallings said. "I told them tonight they have an opportunity to reach a lofty status in our state because it doesn't happen very often."

Kentucky's Carla Booth (Sheldon Clark/Eastern Kentucky) backed Hammonds with nine points, seven coming in the last 21/2 minutes. Chasity Gooch (Franklin-Simpson/Western Kentucky) was one of three Kentuckians with five points, and she added seven rebounds.

Indiana's Courtney Lawson was the only other scorer in double figures with 10.

Kentucky won with hustle plays, finishing with an 18-2 advantage in second-chance points, 19-9 in points off turnovers and 55-46 in rebounds.

"These kids, they're a very competitive bunch and they don't like to lose in ping-pong, do they Carla?" Stallings said, looking to Booth, "or cornhole throughout the week, and they're willing to do those little things. ... We got positive contributions from everyone."

Kentucky also gave Indiana's shooter fits. While Kentucky shot a modest 20-for-65 (30.8 percent), the Northerners were worse at 18-for-64 (28.1 percent).

"They contested some shots pretty well, but I don't think we set ourselves up to get our shooters open in comfortable positions to catch and shoot," said David Miller, Indiana's coach from Fort Wayne. "... Our movement without the ball wasn't very good."

Goss had three turnovers in the first three minutes and was held to six points in the first half. But she rallied her team from a 30-25 halftime deficit to lead by as many as three in the second half.

"At the beginning, I had to find my rhythm. But I felt like as a team, as soon as we started getting things going, I knew that's when I'd pick it up," Goss said. "But since we all didn't click on the same page, it was a struggle. As the game went on, I just (became) even more aggressive, more physical and it just kind of came."

Goss sank a pair of free throws with 2:36 left, cutting Kentucky's lead to 54-53.

Booth answered with a three-pointer.

Goss made two more free throws at 1:02 to bring Indiana to within 57-55.

However, pinpoint passes from Hammond to Booth to Mecheael Guess (Manual/Pittsburgh) resulted in a layup and a 59-55 lead.

After Hammond blocked Goss, Booth made one of two free throws with 29 seconds left and Juliann Miller (Mercy/Evansville) hit two with 13 seconds left for a 62-55 lead.

Booth also hit a pair with 7 seconds to play.

"I just struggled a lot early, so I just kept playing my part for the team," Booth said. "Just kept going after every loose ball, everything I could do to help."

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