It was a slow start for heavily-favored Owensboro Catholic, but they escaped with a 53-42 victory over Daviess County in the first game of the 9th District girls’ basketball tournament at Apollo.
The Lady Aces (23-7) have won the opening-round game of the 9th District tournament for the past 13 seasons.
Though the Lady Panthers (7-22) have struggled to find victories this season, they largely hung with Owensboro Catholic for long stretches in Monday night’s semifinal. Never was that more evident than when Kailey Bowers converted a free throw attempt with just 4:27 to play in the fourth quarter.
Bowers had her way to the charity stripe after coming up with a big steal and circus-shot layup from directly under the basket — body turned completely away from the rim — by flipping the ball over her head without looking.
After finishing off the old-fashioned 3-point play, the scoreboard read 39-33 in favor of Owensboro Catholic. Although 6 points marked the closest the score got in the final period of play, Daviess County head coach John Kirkpatrick was extremely proud of his girls’ performance.
“It was an unbelievable effort tonight,” Kirkpatrick said. “Bowers and (Claire) Johnson, our two seniors were great leaders all season and you saw that tonight. They have meant so much to our program and have really helped to lay the foundation for what the future of Daviess County basketball can look like in the future, and we are so thankful to them for that.”
While the final horn on Monday signaled the end for the the Lady Panthers, the Lady Aces move on to Thursday’s championship against Apollo, and they earned a berth in the 3rd Region Tournament.
It’s the third consecutive year Owensboro Catholic will take on Apollo in the title game.
Battling through the adversity of losing four players to sickness before the game, the Lady Aces found a way to triumph in a game head coach Michael Robertson labeled a ‘dog fight’.
“Losing Sarah Beth Clemens and the other three to injury really hurt us tonight,” Robertson said. “But, we’re moving on and we got the win. I don’t think my players came out sluggish, I think they just found themselves in a tough game against a much-improved Daviess County team.
“(Daviess County) stuck with their game plan and made some outside shots, while we missed some defensive assignments. Luckily, (Spencer) Harvey and (Isabella) Henning both made some big shots tonight and stuck with it to get the win.”
Henning finished with 12 points, several of which came in the fourth quarter.Harvey added 11 points, including a 3-pointer just before halftime to create some breathing room.
Daviess County: 5-7-11-19–42
Owensboro Catholic: 9-14-14-16–53
Daviess County: Emma Anderson 15, Katie Mewes 11, Kailey Bowers 7, Ella Payne 7, Brooklyn Daugherty 2
Owensboro Catholic: Isabella Henning 12, MacKenzie Keelin 12, Harvey 11, McKay 10, Lyon 8