It took Owensboro Catholic a full two quarters to find its footing Thursday but once they did, they were able to regroup and down Madisonville-North Hopkins for their first 4-0 start since 2012-13.
After taking down Edmonson County in their opener, the Lady Aces were shut down for two weeks due to Covid. The Lady Aces 58-50 win over the Maroons Thursday was their third game this week and they have another scheduled for Saturday against Louisville Mercy.
Catholic forced turnovers on back-to-back possessions to start the game against Madisonville but the bulk of the first half was all Maroons as they led 15-11 after the first and 32-23 going into the break.
“Madisonville, give them credit. They played a heck of a ballgame,” OC coach Michael Robertson said. “They hit a lot of shots today. They shot the ball really well. … I know in the first half they hit six 3-pointers on us.”
The Aces outscored Madisonville 18-5 in the third quarter to put themselves in the driver’s seat ahead of the final frame.
“We made some adjustments. We played a lot harder in the second half,” Robertson said. “We played smarter and that was the key. The big thing I told them, you’ve got to be confident when you shoot the ball and we weren’t confident. We were praying and hoping that shots went in. We had to just go ahead and shoot.”
Forcing turnovers was key for the Aces Thursday as the Maroons have their youngest team in several years and Catholic was primed to take advantage.
Robertson said he knew they could tire them out.
“Turnovers and wearing people down,” he said was key. “They don’t play as many as we do, I don’t believe they did, and in the third and fourth quarter they were tired. Then we started having lapses on defense and we got complacent with our lead. We just started taking the shortcut instead of continuing to play hard. They didn’t give up, that’s their third game this week. We’re tired, I could tell in our legs, we’ve got one more hopefully on Saturday and we’re just going to keep fighting.”
While he was focused on the Maroons losing their legs, Robertson said he saw some of his players tired late in the game as well.
Catholic would substitute all five players at times during the game to give them a fresh lineup on the floor.
“We have been doing mass substitutions but not completely, not five for five,” he said. “I’ve been trying to get all the girls in, all of them in the rotation and that was good again tonight. We’ve got some girls struggling right now, we’re going to come together. One, we need to get back int he gym and have practice but at the same time, I need to save their legs. It’s a battle right now of trying to figure out what’s best.”
Catherine Head led the Aces with 14 points while Maddie Hayden added 12 but Robertson said it took everyone to get the win.
“Ally Maggard played a heck of a game,” he said. “I thought she got on the glass hard in that second half, she took it to heart. Catherine Head same, she played well. Katie Riney was getting in the paint, Maddie Hayden played a great game as well. It’s a team effort by us and I’m really proud of them.”
The Aces now prepare for their fourth game this week when they travel to Louisville to take on Mercy.
Despite not playing their best in the first half, Robertson said there were still a few key things to take from those two quarters.
“You’ve just got to play the whole game,” he said. “We struggled the first half over there at North and we did it again tonight. We’ve just got to come out more focused and ready to play, Our warmups, I thought we were just going through the motions. We need to be more vocal, more attentive.
“The big thing that everybody in the region, everybody in the state knows is it could be over the next day. Leave it on the floor, quit taking plays off and that’s what we’re focused on.”
Owensboro Catholic 58, Madisonville-North Hopkins 50
OC (4-0) 11 12 18 17–58
MN (1-2) 15 17 5 13–50
OC: Catherine Head 14, Maddie Hayden 12, Lauren Keelin 8, Ally Maggard 7, Rachel Taylor 7, Kinsley Goetz 4, Kashlynn Rice 4, Hailee Johnson 2
MN: Kara Franklin 12, Riley Sword 11, Emilee Hallum 9, Amari Lovan 7, Destine Whitsell 6, Lillie Carmen 5