By SETH LAMAR
Gold Standard Sports Editor
The Fort Knox Lady Eagles faced off against the Central Hardin Lady Bruins Tuesday night at North Hardin for the right to keep their respective seasons alive.
The 17th District Tournament game marked the third meeting this season between the two teams with Central Hardin winning both regular season games.
The postseason matchup between the Knox girls and Central Hardin resulted in a 64-44 loss for the Lady Eagles to conclude the 2012-13 season. From the opening tip, both teams implemented a physical brand of basketball. Central’s Aislynn Barnes put the first point of the game on the board for the Lady Bruins after hitting 1-of-2 from the charity stripe, but on the following possession, Knox took the lead with a Brianna Smith layup.
Central Hardin rattled off a 7-0 run over the next two minutes before Knox’s Brenna Stephenson scored three consecutive baskets and tie the game at 10-10 with 2:29 remaining in the opening quarter. Taeisha Wynder added a baseline runner to give the Lady Eagles their second lead of the game at 12-10.
The Lady Bruins retook the lead with back-to-back trips down the floor resulting in five points, but Knox’s Wynder responded with a jumper as time expired to trail 15-14 heading into the second quarter.
The Lady Eagles struggled to find offense in the second quarter and struggled with turnovers against the Central Hardin defense. The Lady Bruins would outscore the Lady Eagles 18-4 to take a 33-18 lead into halftime.
Stephenson led the Lady Eagles with six points in the first half, but her second half performance would set her apart from everyone on the floor. The Lady Bruins were slow to build on their double-digit lead in the third quarter, due in large part to the play on both ends of the floor by Stephenson. The Knox sophomore consistently turned defense into offense by picking off Central Hardin’s passes in the open court and sprinting to the other end for easy lay-ins.
Knox couldn’t cut into the Central Hardin lead after the setback in the second quarter and were never closer than the halftime deficit.
The bulk of the Lady Eagles’ scoring came from Stephenson as she accounted for the bulk of the Knox scoring with a stat line of 20 points, 8 steals and 6 rebounds. Her performance garnered 17th District All-Tournament Team honors. Smith was the only other Lady Eagle to reach double-figures with 14 points.
The youthful Lady Eagles conclude the season with a 1-27 record.