PARIS — Bishop Brossart’s girls made just 57.9% of their free throws before Thursday.
Which mattered not a whit, as it turned out.
The Lady ‘Stangs made eight of their last 10 – good enough for a 44-38 win over Bracken County in the 10th Region All “A” Classic tournament final at Earl Redwine Gymnasium.
Brossart’s win was the third small-school win in four years. To the six Lady ‘Stang seniors, the newest trophy was the nicest.
“This one does feel better,” Brossart senior Molly Kramer said. “Sophomore year, I played a little bit, freshman year I didn’t play a lot. This year, we have six seniors, so this year is our last rally to get to EKU (Eastern Kentucky University).”
Brossart coach Steve Brown didn’t make a big deal about the free throws – or that the Lady ‘Stangs made just 12 of 21 on Thursday.
“To be honest, the last two games that we played down here in this tournament, we shot 77 and 78 percent, I think,” Brown said,
There was some significant serendipity, too. Senior guard Bella Rowe, who averaged 7.9 points before Thursday, led the Lady ‘Stangs with 14 points, including four 3-pointers.
“My goal is to always hit a couple 3s, but I didn’t think I’d hit four,” Rowe said. “I just kept shooting it.”
Thursday’s first quarter could be remembered by what didn’t happen as much as what occurred – there was a paucity of points. Especially Bracken County – the Lady Bears didn’t score their first two points until Gineva Riley’s bucket with 1:38 left.
Brossart (12-5) didn’t scorch the nets, either.
After Molly Kramer and Zoee Meyers scored two points each and Bella Rowe knocked down a 3, the Lady ‘Stangs didn’t score the rest of the quarter.
Bracken County (9-10) closed to within 7-5 on Macie Sharp’s 3-pointer with a minute left.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Bracken County coach Troy Archibald said. “The difference in the game was free throws; they hit theirs, we didn’t. That’s been our problem all year long.”
The second quarter featured multitudinous peaks and valleys of scoring.
Brossart’s was first – a 10-2 streak and a 17-7 advantage led by Jill Pleneaux’s four points, Rowe’s 3 and Kramer’s and-1 three-point play.
Bracken County followed that with a 9-0 run over the final 2:36. Nicole Archibald’s 3-pointer with a second left (she led the Lady Bears with 11 points) closed Brossart’s halftime lead to 17-16, and her bucket 15 ticks into the third quarter started an 8-0 run that gave the Lady Bears a 24-17 lead.
Brossart and Bracken County were tied at 35 with 4:56 to go. The Lady ‘Stangs won the game at the free throw line – they made their eight free throws over the final 2:22.
The Lady ‘Stangs meet 13th Region winner Jackson County in the state All “A” at 8 p.m. Jan. 25 at McBrayer Arena in Richmond.
BISHOP BROSSART 7 10 14 14 – 44
BRACKEN CO. 5 11 13 9 – 38
Bishop Brossart (44) — Rowe 14, Meyers 8, Kramer 11, Planeaux 7, Hummel 1, Lloyd 3.
3-Pt. FG: 4 (Rowe 4). FT: 12-21. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None.
Bracken Co. (38) — Archibald 11, Reynolds 2, Kirk 3, Riley 2, Johnson 5, Sharp 5, Bauer 6, Brooks 4.
3-Pt. FG: 4 (Archibald 2, Kirk, Sharp). FT: 6-17. Fouls: 21. Fouled out: Johnson, Sharp, Bauer.