The first few weeks of the season were difficult for the Lady Indians.

They lost five or their first six games, including a setback on the road against district rival Berea Community.

Those setbacks were tough.

No doubt.

"They are going to learn," Madison Central coach Brad Lovely said. "They are getting better and that's what I'm most proud of. We are getting there. It's just going to take some time."

A short time later, things are much different.

Senior Jekauri McKeithen had a double-double -- 16 points and 13 rebounds-- as the Lady Indians (6-7) held off Knox Central on Monday in Richmond.

Freshman Eve Carter finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals while Brianna Bierbaum added 12 points.

Central has won five of its past seven games.

The turnaround started last month when they Lady Indians won all three games during the Jack Burford Chevy Christmas Classic.

"That was big," Lovely said of the tournament. "They got some confidence and that was the first time we had everyone back."

Bierbaum and senior Taleya Todd returned to the line-up just prior to the tournament and helped Central beat Menifee County, Breathitt County and Harlan County.

The Lady Indians topped 11th Region rival Frederick Douglass, 49-30, last Saturday but had to rally late to beat Knox Central.

The Lady Panthers had a 35-33 lead after three quarters on Monday.

Central scored the first seven of the final period, a run that Carter started with a three-pointer.

"She wasn't even on the team last year," Lovely said of Carter. "Her last game was at Caudill last fall. She hadn't played a game in almost a year."

Carter only played seven minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. In the second half, the freshman had nine points, four rebounds and three assists.

Todd had two big baskets and Bierbaum had a three-pointer in the fourth quarter.

Central pushed out to an eight-point lead, but the Lady Panthers hit two three-pointers and got back within a point (49-48) with 25.3 seconds left.

Carter delivered another basket late, still Knox Central had the ball trailing by a point with 3.8 seconds left.

The Lady Panthers were not able to get off a shot before the buzzer.

Todd finished with eight points for Central. Nataya Strader and Olivia Metcalfe had two points each.

McKeithen also had four blocks.

"We had three kids in double figures and really should have four because Taleya missed a couple of layups," Lovely said.

Central had 16 turnovers and shot 41 percent from the field. The Lady Indians were 3-of-15 from three-point range and 2-of-9 from the free throw line.

Central is set to return to action Wednesday at home against Scott County.

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