It was just a little less than a season ago (Feb. 10, 2012) that the North Knox Lady Warriors handed them a 41-38 loss eliminating them from the sectional.
It was a little less than three months ago (Nov. 17) that the North Knox Lady Warriors handed them a 56-43 loss at Bicknell.
"I think we came out a little nervous, a little gun-shy in the first half," Bloomfield coach Chris Hitchcock said. "Then we got behind and that really ended up hurting us.
"If we would have played the way we did in the third quarter for four quarters it was a different game."
Bloomfield's third loss to North Knox in as many tries didn't come without a fight, no in deed. After trailing by as many as 11 points in the first half, they rallied back to completely erase the gap in the third quarter.
Thanks to a second half opening spurt that saw them bolt from the intermission on a 16-6 run, they pulled ahead 29-28.
"I loved how we played in the third quarter," Hitchcock said. "That was some of the best basketball my team has played all season.
"It got us back and we took the lead, even though it was short-lived."
The biggest trouble with the outburst, it ended too soon -- and BHS never mounted another one.
Bloomfield's lead lasted only a few seconds -- 19 to be exact -- that's how long it took the Lady Warriors' Maria Gugliotta to respond with a turnaround jumper in the lane that gave her team back a one-point cushion.
"Gugliotta is very good and she got some good touches," Hitchcock said. "We made her miss a couple there at times."
While the 5-11 post workhorse finished the night with a game-high 21 points and 11 rebounds, it was teammate Lauren Primus who ultimately delivered the death blow to the Lady Cardinals' season.
With the Lady Warriors clinging to a 32-30 lead midway through the final stanza, Primus buried a long-distance trey that extended the gap to 35-30. Not only did her shot give the Lady Warriors a needed recovery from the tough defense BHS was applying, it ignited a finishing run.
"The play that really broke our back was Primus's three," Hitchcock said. "We were down and making some stops.
"We had some not-so-smart turnovers in the fourth quarter."
They totaled 15 for the game and just three untimely ones in the fourth quarter as well as missing seven of the eight shots they took in the final stanza.
Over the final two minutes and 25 seconds of the game, North Knox scored just enough -- a short inside shot from Gugliotta -- to negate the 3-pointer put up with just four-tenths of a second remaining by BHS junior Alicia Hasler.
Hasler led the Lady Cardinals with 10 points.
"Our effort and our execution of the game plan in the second half was awesome," Hitchcock said. "The last 30 seconds, last 40 seconds we didn't execute as well as we needed to."
Bloomfield ends their year with a 7-14 record, but according to Hitchcock this year's Lady Cardinal team was anything but a sub-.500 team.
"The kids fought, they're a very young squad and I'm proud of them," Hitchcock said. "We drove the ball to the basket, we made it our game, we gave us a chance to win and it just didn't happen.
"Here we are another close game with good North Knox, a good battle -- we're not that far from the hump."
The sectional continues at Sullivan on Wednesday with two more games as Class 2A No. 3 (19-2) takes on Eastern Greene (9-10) in the first game at 6 p.m. followed by the Linton-Stockton Lady Miners (3-18) battling South Knox (9-10) at about 7:30 p.m.
On Friday North Knox (14-9) will face-off against North Central (7-14) in the first semifinal followed by the game between Wednesday's winners.
IHSAA Class 2A Sectional 47
NORTH KNOX (37) -- Betsy Grove 0-3 0-0 0, Maria Gugliotta 9-15 3-5 21, Mason Buckthal 1-2 0-0 2, Lauren Charlton 3-8 2-2 8, Lauren Primus 1-3 0-0 3, Shelby Doades 1-1 0-1 3, Ashlyn Marx 0-1 0-0 0, Madison Utt 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-33 5-8 37.
BLOOMFIELD (33) -- Emily Bucher 3-6 3-5 9, Kari Schulte 2-5 0-0 4, Alicia Hasler 4-5 0-0 10, Elena Weddle 0-5 1-4 1, Kristin Hall 3-6 0-0 7, Marisa McIntosh 1-3 0-0 2, Cheyenne Wikle 0-2 0-0 0, Meaghan Bond 0-4 0-0 0, Madison Toon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-36 4-9 33.
North Knox 13 9 8 7 -- 37
Bloomfield 8 5 16 4 -- 33
3-point shooting -- North Knox 2-7 (Doades 1-1, Primus 1-1, Charlton 0-1, Gugliotta 0-1, Grove 0-1, Buckthal 0-1, Marx 0-1), Bloomfield 3-8 (Hasler 2-2, Hall 1-3, Weddle 0-2, McIntosh 0-1). Rebounds -- North Knox 22 (Gugliotta 11), Bloomfield 25 (Bucher 4, Hasler 4). Steals -- North Knox 5 (Charlton 2), Bloomfield 8 (Weddle 4, Hall 4). Blocks -- North Knox 4 (Gugliotta 3), Bloomfield none. Assists -- North Knox 10 (Grove 5), Bloomfield 6 (Hasler 2). Turnovers -- North Knox 15, Bloomfield 13. Total fouls -- North Knox 13, Bloomfield 16. Fouled out -- none. Technical fouls -- none.