SOMERSET — The Boyle County girls just kept doing what they do, and it finally wore Southwestern down.
The Rebels were down by 11 points at the start of the fourth quarter Wednesday night, but they held the Warriors to one field goal and forced eight turnovers over the final eight minutes to rally for a 51-48 win in the first round of the 12th Region Tournament at Pulaski County.
“We’re never a team that’s just going to give up, and I think our motivation really pulled through,” said senior Hannah Harris, who 13 points and six rebounds for Boyle. “And even thought we were down, we were going to keep going at them. That’s just the kind of team we are, that’s our mentality.”
The resilience earned Boyle (18-13) a berth in Monday’s semifinals for the first time since 2001. Boyle plays Casey County, which beat Burgin 62-38 Wednesday.
Kalin Bottoms had 10 points and seven boards, Chelsea Gill had eight points and five rebounds and Dee Foster collected seven boards and took a key charge late in the game for the Rebels.
“I’m just extremely proud of our girls. We were down for the count about three times; we just refused to lose that game. We went to our full-court pressure, and at one point it looked like we had seven or eight people out there. We were just scrambling around, and just played phenomenal,” Boyle coach Greg Edwards said. “It was a total team effort, just handling adversity the way we did all night and just making big plays down the stretch.
“This is all to their credit, they worked their tails off tonight.”
The Rebels were down 43-32 entering the fourth quarter, but quickly got back into it thanks to their pressure.
Gill scored off a steal by Lauren Richards, and Richards made two free throws and then scored on a steal from Harris to quickly cut the lead to 43-37 with 6:13 to go.
Southwestern (19-12) then scored on Brittany Combs’ bucket with six minutes left, but that was the last field goal the Warriors would get. Instead, Boyle forced six turnovers to tie things up and the Warriors were just 1-for-3 from the floor in the quarter.
Foster started the decisive run with a jumper from the left side, then Smith scored off of Bottoms’ steal and Gill scored after a Southwestern miss. With 3:32 to go, Harris scored off of Foster’s steal to tied the game at 45-all.
“Our girls are in great shape, and you could tell at halftime they (Southwestern) were kind of gassed,” Edwards said. “And I thought our pressure in the second half really wore them down.”
Southwestern had retaken the lead at 48-47 on two free throws from Destiny Molden, but Gill drove in and hit a short jumper with 52 seconds to go to put Boyle back up 49-48.
The Warriors’ Allison Corder was going in for a layup, but Foster stepped in an took the charge with 28.5 seconds left. Harris was then fouled, hit her first free throw and missed her second, but Foster grabbed the offensive board, was fouled and made one of two at the line for a 51-48 lead with 14.3 seconds to go.
A final 3-point attempt from the Warriors was air-balled, and the Rebels erupted in celebration.
It did not appear that celebration was going to happen early.
Boyle was down 19-8 after a quarter, but cut the Southwestern lead to 24-21 by halftime. The Warriors came out firing in the third, as Brittany Combs, Corder and Samantha Fitzgerald all nailed 3-pointers during an 11-0 open run to make it 35-21 with 5:23 left in the third.
Edwards said that’s when he knew the Rebels just had to press and hope to force some turnovers.
“They made some big shots coming out in that third quarter, and we left them open. We just felt like we had to change up the defense a little to try and get the momentum back in our favor, and the pressure a big key,” he said. “And Hannah, her and Chelsea did a great job of leading us.”
Cami Holton hit two free throws and Smith made one of two, then Harris scored off a steal by Gill to trim the lead to 35-26. But Southwestern, thanks to a buzzer-beating putback from Elisabeth Latham, pushed that lead back to 43-32 after three quarters.
Boyle finished 19 of 53 from the floor, made two of 12 3-pointers, and went 11 of 18 at the line. The Rebels scored 15 points off 15 Southwestern turnovers, and they outrebounded the Warriors 34-32.
Southwestern, which was led by Corder and Fitzgerald with 14 points each, was 15 of 43 from the floor, including 7-for-20 from 3-point range, and 11 of 15 at the line.
12th Region Tournament
At Pulaski County
Boyle County 8 21 32 51
Southwestern 19 24 43 48
BOYLE (18-13) — Hannah Harris 13, Chelsea Gill 8, Kalin Bottoms 10, Marlee Smith 9, Lauren Richards 6, Cami Holton 2, Dee Foster 3.
SOUTHWESTERN (19-12) — Adison Corder 14, Destiny Molden 6, Samantha Fitzgerald 14, Elisabeth Lathan 6, Brittany Combs 8.