LEXINGTON – The Bowling Green girls’ basketball team made the most of its first appearance at Rupp Arena, surviving in a grueling 50-48 double-overtime win over Bishop Brossart in the opening round of the KHSAA Girls’ Sweet 16 on Wednesday.

After being hours from playing in last year’s Sweet 16 only to have the tournament canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bowling Green (19-10) found a way to come out on top in a defensive battle with the Region 10 champion.

“We knew it was going to be a grind,” BG coach Calvin Head said. “We didn’t know it was going to take eight extra minutes. We are glad to be on this side of it.”

Junior center LynKaylah James said it felt great to finally get to play – and win – at the state tournament.

“We wanted this and we’ve been wanting it,” James said. “We just have to keep working so we can get to the end.”

Bowling Green’s second Sweet 16 win all-time – and first since 2011 – was a hard-earned victory, with the Lady Purples forced to make defensive stands at the end of regulation and both overtimes to secure a spot in the quarterfinals.

Bowling Green got off to a shaky start with six turnovers in the first six minutes but only trailed 4-3.

Lauren Macht’s 3-pointer gave the Lady ‘Stangs a 7-3 lead with 1:06 left in the first quarter before the Lady Purples came to life.

Tanaya Bailey’s layup cut the deficit to two to end the first and fueled a 12-0 run that saw Bowling Green go in front 15-7. Macht’s 3 stopped the run and Bishop Brossart (21-7) was able to get within 17-15 by halftime.

Bailey’s bucket pushed the lead back to 21-16 early in the third when the Lady ‘Stangs started to rally, using a 9-2 spurt to surge ahead 25-23.

Bishop Brossart’s leading scorer Marie Kiefer, a Ball State signee, picked up her fourth foul late in the third, but the Lady Purples still trailed 29-25 heading into the fourth.

With Kiefer on the bench, Bowling Green scored five straight points to take the lead. Bishop Brossart answered with back-to-back 3s from Emma Steffen and Rosie Jump to go back in front 35-30 with 5:42 remaining. Kiefer picked up her fifth foul nine seconds later, allowing the Lady Purples an opening for a comeback.

Bowling Green held the Lady ‘Stangs to two free throws the rest of regulation and tied the score on a Bailey bucket with 1:08 remaining. Bishop Brossart had a chance to win, but Bailey got a steal and nearly hit a half-court shot as time expired to send the game to overtime.

Both teams led in the first overtime, with James tying the score 43-all in the final minute and the Lady Purples defense coming through on the final possession as Bishop Brossart was unable to get off a shot.

Bowling Green got the lead early in the second overtime on a 3 from Emma Huskey – BG’s only made 3 of the game – that made the score 46-43.

“That just gave us the momentum to keep pushing,” BG sophomore forward Meadow Tisdale said.

Bishop Brossart hit three out of four free throws to tie it, but Tisdale gave the Lady Purples the lead back with 1:35 remaining on a layup that made the score 48-46.

Brossart tied it again on the next possession before Janiya Bailey hit two free throws to make it a two-point game again.

The Lady ‘Stangs went for the win in the final seconds, missing a 3 with BG’s Jasiyah Franklin pulling down the rebound to seal it for the Lady Purples.

“We talked during both timeouts, don’t let them get a 3 off,” Head said. “If they do, then it’s got to be highly contested. We did a good job. The rebound was probably even more important – putting a freshman in that situation, who hadn’t played all game. She came up with the biggest rebound of the game in my opinion.”

James led the Lady Purples with 15 points and 19 rebounds, while Tisdale added 14 points.

Macht had 16 points to lead Bishop Brossart, while Jump added 15 points.

“If you take the second half and the overtimes, I don’t know if you can find a better game in the Sweet 16,” Bishop Brossart coach Kevin Bundy said.

Bowling Green advances to face Sacred Heart at 10 a.m. CDT Friday.

BBHS 7 8 14 8 6 5 – 48

BGHS 5 12 8 12 6 7 – 50

BB – Macht 16, Jump 15, Kiefer 7, Parker 3, Steffen 3, Rowe 2, Kramer 2.

BG – James 15, Tisdale 14, T. Bailey 9, Huskey 8, Gray 2, J. Bailey 2.{&end}

– Follow prep sports reporter Micheal Compton on Twitter @mcompton428 or visit bgdailynews.com.