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Spring Hill 63, Louisburg 59

The Louisburg girls basketball team put together its best quarter of the season Friday against Spring Hill and the Lady Cats staked themselves a big lead going into halftime.

Unfortunately for Louisburg, Spring Hill came out of halftime and turned the tables on the Lady Cats.

The Lady Cats saw an 18-point lead slowly whittle away and Spring Hill recorded a big comeback as it handed Louisburg a 63-59 loss at Louisburg High School.

“This is the type of game that shows the potential that this team is capable of being,” Louisburg coach Shawn Lowry said. “We are by far what we are going to be by the end of February, which I am excited about. I know how hard the girls are going to work from here on out and they get an opportunity to show how they will respond. They are disappointed, but at the same time they are not going to let this get them down.”

Louisburg (5-5) trailed by five points going into the second quarter, which is where the Lady Cats created a lot of distance between themselves and the Broncos. They outscored Spring Hill 27-4 in the period and ended up taking a 34-16 halftime lead.

Defense keyed the Lady Cats in the second quarter as they used a full-court press to frustrate Spring Hill and forced nine turnovers in the frame. That defense turned into instant offense as Spring Hill battled foul problems.

Those foul problems sent the Lady Cats to the free-throw line – a lot – and they converted. Louisburg made 30 of 47 free throws for the game and they attacked the basket on the Bronco defense. The Lady Cats made more free throws than they had points (19) in their last loss to Baldwin.

“Whether we were up 18 or up 2, I just loved how our kids battled and how they are together in this,” Lowry said. “We can learn a lot from this game and we are going to get better from it. Just look at how big a jump we made from our last game from a shooting perspective, from a free-throw shooting perspective and it is just because they were focused and ready to go. We just have to make sure that our defensive effort and discipline is for an entire game and not just the first part.”

The second half was a different story for Louisburg. The Broncos outscored the Lady Cats 25-9 in the third period to cut the Louisburg lead to just two, before taking the lead back for good with four-and-a-half minutes left in the game.

Louisburg sophomore Megan Foote gets on the floor for a loose ball Friday against Spring Hill.

Louisburg also had some foul trouble of its own as the team’s leading scorer, Madilyn Melton, fouled out midway through the fourth quarter.

The Lady Cats made several runs at the Broncos as Megan Foote cut the Spring Hill lead to one on a 3-pointer with just over a minute left. Louisburg also got a basket from Carson Buffington and a free throw from freshman Delaney Wright with 42 seconds remaining, but still trailed the Broncos by one.

Spring Hill made a free throw with under 30 seconds left to make it a two-point game, but Buffington missed a 3-pointer with under 10 seconds left and Spring Hill was able to ice the game at the free-throw line.

Buffington led Louisburg in scoring with 18 points and also tied for a team-high with six steals and had five rebounds. Melton was next with 17 points, while Foote also finished in double figures with 10. Foote and sophomore Alyse Moore had six and five steals, respectively.

Louisburg will try and bounce back this week in a challenging Top Gun Tournament at Wellsville High School. The Lady Cats, the No. 6 seed, will face Wellsville at 6:45 p.m., today.

“It is loaded and it is a good one,” Lowry said “We are excited to go play and we will get to play the host team to kick it off. There are some great teams like Baldwin, Spring Hill and Nemaha Central is an undefeated No. 1-ranked team in 3A. Then you have a team like Hayden there, whose record isn’t great, but they play in a tough league and are a solid team. It will be a lot of fun.”

LOU               7             27           9             16 – 59

SH                  12           4             25           22 – 63

LOUISBURG (5-5): Carson Buffington 3-6 11-12 18; Madilyn Melton 4-6 9-14 17; Megan Foote 2-4 5-6 10; Alyse Moore 3-4 2-9 9; Haley Cain 1-6 1-2 3; Sydni Keagle 0-0 1-2 1; Delaney Wright 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 13-30 30-47 59. 3-point field goals: 3, (Buffington, Moore, Foote)