By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
Madison County’s dynamic duo of Ashton Feldhaus and Larryn Brooks had a big hand in the Kentucky All-Stars 84-78 win over the Indiana All-Stars Friday in Freedom Hall.
Feldhaus hit back-to-back three pointers in the final two minutes after Indiana had cut a Kentucky 20-point lead to only two points.
Then Brooks drained two free throws with only 23 seconds left to seal the victory.
Feldhaus said she didn’t hesitate to put up the first shot when she found herself open on the wing.
“I had hit two or three before that so I didn’t even think about it. I saw I was open and looked up at the shot clock and knew I needed to shoot it and it went in, thank God,” Feldhaus said. “The second one I got it on top and I thought somebody was going to flash, but they didn’t and I saw I had some space and I felt hot so I pulled the trigger again and it went in.”
The fact that the shots came against Indiana just made it that much more special, Feldhaus said.
“Doing it while representing Kentucky was really special and then doing it to beat Indiana was the best part,” said Feldhaus, who has signed with Butler University, which is in Indianapolis.
After the first three-pointer, Brooks was her buddy’s biggest cheerleader on the floor. After the second the two exchanged several hugs and high fives at midcourt.
“She has icewater in her veins,” Brooks said of Feldhaus. “Oh, my God. I don’t think she knows how big it was. She wasn’t celebrating as much as the rest of us. That was so exciting.”
Feldhaus finished with a game-high 20 points and three rebounds. Brooks had 11 points, one rebound and one assist.
The Kentuckians jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead thanks to a smothering full-court press with Brooks and Feldhaus leading the way.
Kentucky built its lead to as much as 18 in the first half and never let the much bigger Indiana girls establish an inside game.
Feldhaus had a trio of three-pointers in the half on her way to a nine-point first half.
Brooks, who has signed with Indiana University, only scored one point, but controlled the offense for much of the half with Miss Basketball Makayla Epps slowed by a sore knee.
Her presence at the point of the press was an integral part of the big lead.
“That’s what we worked on all week was ball pressure, ball pressure and it worked,” Brooks said.
In the second half, the Hoosier girls made several runs to cut the Kentucky lead under 10 points, but each time Kentucky responded.
Feldhaus squashed a couple of runs with three pointers and Brooks nailed jump shots on three occasions when Indiana was on the verge of getting even closer.
And at the end of the game when the Hoosiers were on the verge of taking the lead, it was the Madison County connection that came through again.
Brooks said it was humbling to get to play in the game and to get to play a big part in the win was special.
“That was so much fun. This was a great atmosphere and it was an honor to get to represent Kentucky in this game,” Brooks said. “We know we were the underdogs coming in, so that makes it even sweeter.”
Kentucky will look to sweep the annual two-game series for the second-straight season when the squads meet today at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.