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Kentucky girls split with Indiana

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Lady Knights contribute to Friday night win

By Stephen Lega

Kentucky’s high school all-stars got off to a good start in their annual series with Indiana, thanks to the contributions of a trio of Lady Knights.

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Indiana’s girls had a clear size advantage, but Kentucky forced 27 turnovers en route to an 84-78 victory Friday night at Freedom Hall. Indiana earned a split, however, winning Saturday’s game in Indianapolis, 100-86.

“We were satisfied with a split,” Marion County’s Makayla Epps said. “Our coaches knew we competed hard and never gave up.”

In Friday’s game, Kentucky’s girls jumped out to a 9-0 lead with Lady Knights playing a hand in all nine points. Kyvin Goodin-Rogers scored the first two points of the game. Makayla Epps added five points and dished an assist at the start of the game.

Epps — Kentucky’s Miss Basketball — finished with a double-double, 17 points and 10 assists to go along with seven rebounds. Epps said the plan was to try to speed up the game because of Indiana’s size. Indiana had six players who were 6’ 2” or taller.

“It worked very effectively on Friday,” Epps said. “Not so much on Saturday. We were a little gassed.”

Goodin-Rogers chipped in 11 points and grabbed five boards, and a third Lady Knight, Logan Powell, contributed three points, three rebounds and an assist.

Goodin-Rogers said she’d played against taller players in AAU, but she was glad they got a win over Indiana.

“I came out happy about it,” she said.

Goodin-Rogers added that she had fun and enjoyed the experience.

Ashton Feldhaus of Madison Central led all scorers with 20 points, including six three-pointers. Indiana’s leading scorer was Bridget Perry of Roncalli High School. Perry will be playing for Purdue in the fall.

Indiana lost a key component when its Miss Basketball, Stephanie Mavunga of Brownsburg High School, injured her left knee just minutes into Friday’s game. After leaving the court for treatment, she returned on crutches and a pack of ice on her knee.

At the half, Kentucky lead by 13 points, but Indiana wasn’t out of it yet.

With 2:11 remaining in the game, Indiana cut the lead to two points. Kentucky fended off the late Indiana charge, thanks in part to back-to-back three-pointers by Feldhaus, to hold on for the win.

Powell said the Kentucky girls played well in both games.

“It was a really good experience,” she said.

According to Powell, the weeks leading up to the all-star games were like high school practices, except they practiced twice a day. She added that the team also visited the Louisville waterfront and spent some time at a Parkland Boys and Girls Club.

Epps said the visit to the Boys and Girls Club was her favorite part of the all-star experience.

“They were treating us like we were the Miami Heat,” she said.

Goodin-Rogers even won $6 during a trip to Churchill Downs. In the race she bet, she bet on the No. 5 horse, since that will be her number in college.

Indiana earns split

In Saturday’s game, Indiana defeated Kentucky at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, which is the home court of the Indiana Pacers.

Epps said that she appreciated the opportunity to play at Freedom Hall, which is legendary within Kentucky, and on her second NBA court. (At the McDonald’s All-American game, she also played at the United Center, the home of the Chicago Bulls.)

“They couldn’t have picked two better places to play,” she said.

In the loss, Epps led Kentucky’s scorers with 23 points. She also had five rebounds and four assists in the game.

In Saturday’s game, Goodin-Rogers added five points and six rebounds, and Powell finished with a rebound and an assist.

Perry once again led Indiana with 23 points, while Notre Dame signee Taya Reimer of Hamilton Southeastern added 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Hoosier squad.

Next stops

Epps and Goodin-Rogers have both signed to play college basketball at the University of Kentucky in the fall. On Monday, both were heading to Lexington.

Powell will continue her basketball career at Norfolk State in Virginia.

Boys games both go to Indiana

While the girls split their games, Indiana swept the boys’ contests.

On Friday in Louisville, Indiana’s boys crushed their Kentucky counterparts, 114-60, which was the biggest victory in the history of the Kentucky-Indiana all-star series.

Saturday’s game in Indianapolis was closer, but Indiana came away with an 84-77 win.