By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Bush capped off a perfect season with 32-18 win over Hunter Hills Friday in the championship game of the Laurel County Elementary Girls Tournament. It was what coach Melanie Philpot expected all along from a team that lacked height, but didn’t lack heart.
“I didn’t think anyone could run with us,” Philpot said.
A much taller Hunter Hills team lost for just the second time this season. Both losses came to the Lady Blue Devils. Hunter Hills found it difficult to get the ball inside to leading scorers Paige Smith and Jasmine Rogers against an active Bush defense.
“We had to keep the game out of the paint and bring it to the perimeter,” Philpot said.
Isabel Gray’s 14 points and Taylor Combs’ 10 led Bush, but it was just as much their defense that allowed them to control the game. The Lady Blue Devils forced turnovers on the first five possessions as they jumped ahead 6-0.
“We had to really come out like we wanted to win. We had to go after the ball,” Philpot said.
Combs scored five in the first quarter. It was her free throw with 1:14 that gave Bush a 9-2 lead.
“Gray and Taylor Combs brought the guard pressure up top that was really hard to handle,” Philpot said.
Hunter Hills closed to within 9-6 by the end of the quarter when they were able to get the ball inside. They would tie the score 12-12 just before halftime when Rogers took a rebound end to end for a layup. Hunter Hills would never lead.
The second half started much like the first with Gray turning a steal into a layup. Maylee Philpot scored on an inbounds play. Hunter Hills cut the lead to 16-14 on a putback by Smith, but they would get no closer. Smith led Hunter Hills with eight points. She scored 20 in the first meeting with the Lady Blue Devils.
After Smith pulled her team within two points, Bush would score the next eight. Steals by Philpot led to two of the scores. Gray scored the last six points of the run, including a foul line jumper that made it a 24-14 game. Hunter Hills turned the ball over 15 times in the third quarter against the tenacious Bush press. The defense led the Lady Blue Devils on another 8-0 run in the fourth quarter.
Laurel County Elementary GIrls’ Tournament
at North Laurel
Bush 32, Hunter Hills 18
Bush 9 3 12 8—32
Hunter Hills 6 6 4 2—18
BUSH (32)—Taylor Combs 10, Isabel Gray 14, Maylee Philpot 6, Morgan Vaughn 2.
HUNTER HILLS (18)—Paige Smith 8, Jasmine Rogers 2, Alexis Strunk 4, Tori North 2, Janessa Proffitt 2.