The Courier-Journal (Louisville)

GIRLS BASKETBALL Kentucky girls swept in All-Star series

- Zion Brown GRACE HOLLARS/INDYSTAR

INDIANAPOL­IS – The Indiana AllStars girls team got back from Lexington, Ky. at 1:30 a.m. The team then had to wake up for a 9:30 a.m. practice in Gainbridge Fieldhouse to get ready to play Kentucky again at 5 p.m. So it made sense for this group of girls — in their third game in four days — to come out sluggish Saturday.

Indiana scored just 25 points in the first half after dropping 90 in its win over Kentucky on Friday. There was essentiall­y no energy in Gainbridge Fieldhouse as Kentucky led by as many as 12 and held a nine-point advantage at halftime.

Coach Andy Maguire knew his squad was worn out, but he had one request as the group prepared for its last 20 minutes of high school hoops.

“All we really talked about at halftime was just ‘Give us some heart,’” Maguire said. “We’ve got to play from the heart at this point. It may not be good, it may not be perfect, but let’s put some heart into this and really show what we’re about.”

Indiana crawled its way back and tied the score at 47 heading into the third quarter. Indiana outlasted Kentucky in a back-and-forth fourth quarter to seal a 66-64 victory and sweep Kentucky for the first time since 2016.

With the score tied at 59 with just over two minutes left, IndyStar Miss Basketball Chloe Spreen scored the team’s last seven points, including a three-point play that gave Indiana the lead with 1:37 to go. The Bedford North Lawrence grad and Alabama recruit came up clutch while wearing the coveted No. 1 jersey for the week.

Spreen’s playing time was limited Friday due to her fouling out. With Purdue commit and Fort Wayne Snider’s Jordyn Poole being out (face) Saturday, Spreen delivered with the game in the balance. While Spreen fouled out in the final second of Saturday’s matchup, she finished with a team-high 16 points.

“Spending my time out there with them — as my last few minutes of high school in Indiana — I can’t even express,” Spreen said. “It’s sad, but I wouldn’t have done it with any other girls. Great group of girls, and the coaches are just great too.”

The MVP of the game was awarded to Jennings County grad and Michigan State recruit Juliann Woodard. Woodard finished with a 15-point, 12-rebound double-double and kept Indiana afloat with seven of the team’s 11 firstquart­er points.

“I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and my coaches by my side,” Woodard said of the award. “I think I just put my head down and play my game, and whatever comes of it, comes of it.”

As usual, it’s the last high school game all of Indiana’s players will participat­e in. But it was also the final game on the sideline for Maguire. Maguire stepped down from his gig at Zionsville in March after coaching the program for 21 years across two stints. He finished his career by getting two wins over Indiana’s southern rivals.

“It is emotional,” Maguire said. “I mean, this is a sport that’s done a lot for me. It’s helped me be the person I am, and I hope I’ve helped other people become better because of basketball. So it’s tough to give something like that up.”

Maguire, 60, didn’t rule out a return to coaching after the game, but for now, he wants some time away. Maguire is set to depart for Alaska on Monday for a trip he hasn’t been able to make in the past because of basketball camps.

For now, Maguire and the rest of the All-Stars exit high school basketball on top.

BOYS BASKETBALL

 ?? ?? Kentucky All-Star Anna Drakeford (5) rushes up the court against Indiana All-Star Lauren Walsh (9) on Saturday.
Kentucky All-Star Anna Drakeford (5) rushes up the court against Indiana All-Star Lauren Walsh (9) on Saturday.

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