BEREA — The Lady Pirates had three starters out of the game with two fouls in the first half on Monday against Barbourville in the season opener.

That forced Berea Community coach Dammian Stepp to go to his bench.

For most of the second quarter, the Lady Pirates had a junior, three sophomores and a freshman on the court.

"I felt like we'd be alright if we got to the second half in decent shape," Stepp said.

The reserves made sure that happened.

Berea closed the first half on a 7-2 run.

With the starters back in the game, the Lady Pirates took control in the second half and pulled away for a 62-48 win.

Madison Howell had 14 points and Sophie Brewer had 10 points for Berea.

The Lady Pirates hit nine three-pointers and forced 24 turnovers.

"For the past three years, we've been trying to develop depth," Stepp said. "Our junior varsity program is really good. I don't see them losing a game this year. They are a young, talented group of kids. The depth is there."

The young kids were tested in the varsity team's season opener.

Howell, Chesney Lovins and Alexis Newman all picked up two fouls early.

Berea had a 16-11 lead, but Barbourville rallied and tied the game twice, 16-16 and 18-18.

Sophomore Reagan Stepp put the Lady Pirates back in front with a basket and then hit a three-pointer.

Freshman Maddy King added a basket to give Berea a 25-20 lead at halftime.

"I can't say enough about Raegan Stepp," Stepp said. "She's seen limited minutes over the course of her career. She grabbed a couple of rebounds. She hit a three. She had a layup. She scored five points in a situation where it was nip-and-tuck."

Berea opened the second half on a 10-2 run, fueled by Howell and Lovins.

A three-pointer by Brewer, a sophomore, gave the Lady Pirates a 44-33 lead after three quarters.

Berea came into the season opener with sophomore point guard Mati Stepp. She suffered a major knee injury this summer in an accident.

She is expected to miss her entire sophomore season.

The point guard had stared 90 of the past 91 games.

"I was kind of concerned with how we were going to respond in a real game without Mati," Stepp said. "You just never know."

Sophomore Isis Rogers started at point guard. She had six points and five assists.

Newman and Lovins finished with eight points each. Raegan Stepp had five points. King had four points. Mackenzie Howell had three points and nine rebounds.

Madi Cummins and Abigail Beard had two points each.

Berea shot just 32 percent from the field and hit only 9-of-17 free throws.

The Lady Pirates are set to return to action today at Bourbon County.

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