Lady Purples beat Barren County for Region 4 title

Bowling Green’s Meadow Tisdale (left) and Barren County’s Macy Lockhart battle for the ball during the Lady Purples’ 58-48 win on March 7 at E.A. Diddle Arena.

Editor’s note – This is the 15th in a 16-part series of high school basketball previews counting down to the scheduled opening night of the regular season Jan. 4.

The Bowling Green girls’ basketball team’s season came to an end at Rupp Arena last year, but the Lady Purples never got a chance to play in the Sweet 16.

The coronavirus pandemic denied Bowling Green a chance to play for a state title. While this year’s roster will be a little different, there is enough experience and depth left for the Lady Purples to once again be one of the teams to beat in Region 4.

“Winning a region tournament is really, really hard, especially in this region,” BG coach Calvin Head said. “Getting out of this district to get to the region is really hard, too, so our focus is on trying to get better day by day.”

Bowling Green will begin the season with two players out with injury. Senior guard Kiyah Gray had a minor setback with a quad, but the knee that caused her to miss the bulk of last season is sound according to Head. Freshman Janiyah Bailey is out with an injury, too, while Warren East transfer Tanaya Bailey won’t be eligible until early March.

“We immediately get better when they come back,” Head said. “Until then we have some hungry players and I feel like it is going to be a different player every night to go in there and provide a positive impact. We are going to do a lot of growing up early.”

With Gray out to start the season, Head will look to Ava Bennett and Emma Huskey to lead the way in the backcourt. Head said both bring experience and have had a really good preseason.

“We are very excited about their growth and I think they are going to be huge for us,” Head said. “They just have to hold down the fort until we get Kiyah and Janiyah Bailey back.”

Junior guard Payton Briley can shoot the basketball, while junior guard Taniya Fugate is a good defender.

While BG has questions in the back, the post play will be a strength with sophomore Meadow Tisdale and junior LynKaylah James leading the way.

“Meadow and LynKaylah are special,” Head said. “LynKaylah has the ability to step out and shoot it as well as impose her will on the inside. Meadow is a once in a lifetime, generational-type athlete and she has honed up her skill set. We are excited about the leadership and experience they are going to bring.”

Imani Withrow will provide minutes in the paint for the Lady Purples, while three freshmen – JaSiyah Franklin, Chloe Potter and Ryleigh Campbell – are also expected to contribute.

Bowling Green will be tested with a nonconference schedule that includes Notre Dame, Bethlehem, Elizabethown, Sacred Heart, Marshall County, Wayne County and Central Hardin.

Head said that schedule should prepare BG for what lies ahead in a difficult district – and region.

“Everybody has gotten better,” Head said. “We played a very similar tough schedule last year and it prepared us for the battles we had in our district and our region.”{&end}

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