By Russ Green-Sports Editor
Hardin-Central scored 12 of the game’s final 14 points Friday night to earn a hard-fought 46-37 home win over Braymer in the final regular-season contest of the year. The Lady Dawgs converted seven of 11 free throws in the final 5 minutes of the physical contest and will take a 16-9 record into this evening’s Class 1, District 13 opening round game against Southwest at Braymer.
Each team visited the free throw line 16 times for the game, with Braymer making 10 of its attempts, while the Lady Dawgs hit 9.
Alex Paul helped push Hardin-Central out early. The Lady Bulldog senior hit her first four shots, including a 3-pointer, to give the home team a 9-2 lead. Paul would add another bucket later in the quarter to give the Lady Dawgs a 13-2 lead entering the second period.
Braymer scored the final 4 points of the first frame and the first 6 points of the second quarter to quickly get back in the game. The Lady Bobcats grabbed their first lead during a 6-0 run late in the first half. A pair of free throws by Darcey Peters put Braymer on top 23-22 with 1:46 remaining as Braymer went on to hold a 25-24 lead at the intermission.
Hardin-Central got the lead right back as the second half began, but Braymer reeled off the next 7 points to open its biggest lead of the night, 32-26 with 3:07 left in the third quarter. Paul, who ended the night with a game-high 19 points hit the next 4 points for Hardin-Central to cut the deficit to a basket heading into the final 8 minutes.
Both teams traded scores as the fourth quarter unfolded and Sadie Watson hit one of her two free throws to put Braymer up 37-24. Braymer would add just one more basket over the remaining 5:07 of the game, while the Lady Bulldogs took advantage of their free throw opportunities.