E-Gals win, earn rematch with Lady Mustangs in region semis

February 28, 2019 | 11:15 pm

Updated February 28, 2019 | 11:37 pm

Amber Dunn led Apollo to a big win over Edmonson County in the first round of the girls' basketball 3rd Region Tournament. | Photo by Ryan Richardson

In one of their most complete performances of the season, the Apollo girls’ basketball team was in control from start to finish Thursday night in a 54-39 victory over Edmonson County. With the first-round win in the 3rd Region Tournament, the E-Gals advance to Saturday’s semifinals.

Amber Dunn and Zoe Floyd both posted double-doubles for Apollo (19-12), and Dunn hit five of the team’s nine 3-pointers. Apollo head coach Natalie Payne said she had a good feeling heading into Thursday night’s game.

“I felt like leading up to this game the last few days, they were so focused,” she said. “It was just a different feel. They carried things out.”

The E-Gals used a stout defense all night to stymie the Lady Cats (24-8) and after four consecutive free throws by Floyd for an 8-5 lead in the first quarter, Apollo never trailed again.

With a 13-8 lead to start the second period, Dunn hit three 3-pointers during a 12-6 run that gave the E-Gals their first double-digit lead. Dunn finished the night with a game-high 21 points to go along with 10 rebounds.

“She was in the zone,” Payne said. “She was feeling it. We feed off of her energy. I think she gets a lot of that confidence and energy through her defensive play.”

Apollo vs. Edmonson County | Photo by Ryan Richardson
Apollo vs. Edmonson County | Photo by Ryan Richardson

The Lady Cats scored the last 4 points of the half to get within 27-18 at the break, and the first bucket of the third quarter cut the deficit to 7. Apollo went on a 10-run over the next 3 minutes that included a pick-and-roll score by Floyd and back-to-back 3-pointers by Dunn.

Floyd added a pair of putbacks, the latter coming on a tip-in at the buzzer to end the frame. She finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

“We’ve been preaching to Zoe that she has to get those trash buckets,” Payne said. “She has to find a way to stick her nose in there and be that blue collar worker and get those second-chance points. She did that for us.”

The Lady Cats converted an and-1 to start the fourth to make it 44-29, but it was the closest they could get down the stretch. Lexi Shadowen hit a 3-pointer at the other end and the E-Gals continued to roll.

Payne said Shadowen, who had to miss a few minutes after taking a hit to the face on a layup attempt, was solid all night. Shadowen finished with 10 points and 6 steals.

“She’s steady,” Payne said. “She didn’t let anything get to her. It’s a game of mistakes. She made a few — we all made a few — but she kept her head up. She was looking for people, pushing the ball when she needed to and helping us to slow down when we need to. She and Kassidy (Daugherty) were floor leaders.”

Apollo vs. Edmonson County | Photo by Ryan Richardson
Apollo vs. Edmonson County | Photo by Ryan Richardson

The E-Gals now have a day to prepare for a rematch at 8:15 p.m. Saturday with Muhlenberg County (18-14), who beat Meade County 54-39 in the first game Thursday. Apollo won the lone meeting this year 53-52 in game that was back and forth the whole way in early February.

“Muhlenberg is strong,” Payne said. “They have a great point guard. She has the ability to take anybody off the dribble, so obviously we’ve got to be ready defensively and come up with a plan. They’re a team that’s always ready tournament time. You can’t ever count them out no matter what they did in the regular season.”

Payne said she’s hoping the E-Gals can ride the momentum after a strong showing Thursday night.

“We needed something like this,” she said. “All year long, we’ve kind of been up and down. I feel like we were pretty consistent through the course of the game. Playing four (good) quarters, we haven’t been able to do that much this year.”

Apollo 13-14-17-14–58
Edmonson 8-10-8-10–36
Apollo: Amber Dunn 21, Zoe Floyd 13, Lexi Shadowen 10, Addison Carter 3, Kassidy Daugherty 3, Amari Sanders 3, Kennedy Rowan 3, Shelbie Beatty 2

February 28, 2019 | 11:15 pm

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