More than nine months after falling to Model in the opening round of the district tournament, the Lady Pirates finally got the chance to avenge that disappointing loss.

And they made the most of the opportunity — even without one of their best players.

Sophomore guard Brittany Harris scored a game-high 18 points and Chelsea Atwater added 10 points as Berea Community (1-0) opened the season with a 42-34 win over the Lady Patriots Monday in Berea.

Lauren Heath finished with a team-high 11 points for Model, which slipped to 0-5 on the season.

“(The loss to Model in the district tournament) came up about every second since March 2,” Berea coach Jerry Bingham said. “It really has. It came up after that game. It came up at the banquet. It came up over the summer. It came up in the preseason weightlighting and conditioning. It came up in practice. The whole time we were looking ahead.”

The Lady Pirates went into the highly-anticipated rematch without leading scorer Elizabeth Horn. The standout sophomore forward badly injured a knee last week and her status for the rest of the season is still uncertain.

Even without Horn, Berea battled back from an early deficit to take control before halftime. The Lady Patriots took a 10-9 lead on a Shelby McNeely three-pointer just before the end of the first quarter, but the Lady Pirates opened the second on a 15-1 run.

Harris scored 13 points in the first half as Berea built a 13-point lead before going into the half with a 24-15 advantage.

“I thought Brittany Harris made the game,” Bingham said. “She stepped up and made some shots. She got in the flow and started feeling confident.”

Model was held without a point for the first three and half minutes of the second quarter and did not have a field goal until McNeeley’s layup with 18 seconds left before halftime.

The Lady Patriots graduated the school’s leading scorer, Kendra Ritter, last season and have struggled offensively to fill the void left by the high-scoring guard so far this year. Model was averaging just 34 points a game coming into the showdown with the Lady Pirates and despite playing well in spurts, once again couldn’t generate enough offense to come up with a victory.

“We are 0-5, but in every game we’ve missed some easy baskets,” Model coach Steven Minter said. “I’m talking about wide-open lay-ups and free throws. I didn’t realize how much we’d miss Kendra. I didn’t think we’d miss her that bad. We are getting great shots, we are just not finishing.”

Chelsea Weaver finished with eight points, McNeely had seven points and Kathryn Engle and Kristina Ritter had four points for the Lady Patriots.

Model was able to cut the Berea lead to five points mid-way through the third quarter, but Amanda Thacher and Harris hit three pointers to extended the advantage back to double digits.

Thacher finished with six points, while Haley Webb and Brooke Hazelwood had four points each.

“It gives us a mental boast and hopefully that will carry over from game to game, because we don’t know how long (Elizabeth) is going to be out for,” Bingham said. “We hope it’s not long, but we don’t know.”

Model returns to action Thursday at home against Burgin, while the Lady Pirates take on Pikeville Saturday in Berea.

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