Less than two weeks ago, Owensboro Catholic controlled Apollo and grabbed a 9th District at the Sportscenter but it was Saturday’s contest at AHS that counted toward seeding for the 9th District Tournament and when the top spot was on the line, the E-gals stepped up.
Apollo used a 15-2 run in the second quarter to put the Lady Aces down and they continued their strong play into the second half during their 57-47 victory.
“It has to give us confidence, I know it does,” AHS coach Natalie Payne said of the win. “The way we played against them on Feb. 23, they pretty much controlled that game and we’ve been working ever since to put the pieces together to get us back on track after all these shutdowns. It does a lot for mentally and come tournament time, a lot of it is mental and these kids need to be tough mentally so it helps them for sure.”
Saturday’s win was not only emotional for Apollo’s seniors as it’s the last time they’ll play in their home gym but also for E-gal assistant Willis McClure as he’s retiring after 50 years on the sideline.
“For him to coach his last game on this floor after everything he’s put into this program, it made it extra special for him too,” Payne said. “Happy for the girls and happy for him.”
The game was tied 8-8 after the first but it was Catholic that took the first big leap as the Lady Aces used a 16-2 run from the first quarter to the second to take a 16-8 lead with 3:41 left in the first half.
The next run came from the host E-gals and it would give them the foundation they’d need to grab the pivotal district win.
Apollo went on a 15-2 run in the final few minutes of the half to take a 23-18 lead at break.
Payne said the run was huge but it started on the defensive end.
“I thought Amaya Curry was gritty defensively,” she said. “She had her hands everywhere, getting loose balls. Letting us get out in transition.”
Apollo extended their lead to 11 heading to the fourth and they kept a nearly double-digit lead for most of the final frame en route to the victory.
Apollo’s Shelby Beatty finished with a game-high 19 points and was important during the E-gals run in the second quarter when she scored seven points in the frame.
“She controlled the ball, she made good decisions and she got in the paint and made things happen,” Payne said of Beatty. “She got around people and she was hard to guard.”
Catholic coach Michael Robertson said he had to give credit to Apollo and to Beatty.
“I think they played really well tonight,” he said. “Beatty was the difference tonight in the game. I feel like she is their x-factor. Last time, I don’t think she scored. Tonight she had 19. She kept us off balance. We found things that worked and we found things that didn’t work. We just got to keep working.”
Curry also finished in double digits with 12 points for the E-gals.
Payne said several players had solid games.
“I could name every individual that stepped foot on that floor because we were just gritty on that defensive end and we didn’t allow them to control the boards like the last time.”
With the win, Apollo is now the No. 1 seed in the 9th District Tournament and will take on Daviess County in the first round while Catholic will battle Owensboro in the 2/3 matchup.
Robertson said the Lady Devils are their focus now.
“We’re going to play two more games but the focus is on district because that’s win or go home,” he said. “You got to win that game. They’re playing really well now so we’re going to have our hands full and we don’t have an easy week with Webster and E’town coming in but we’ll just get to work and see what happens.”
Apollo next game is Monday at Muhlenberg while Catholic hosts Webster County Monday at the Sportscenter.
APOLLO 57, OWENSBORO CATHOLIC 47
OC (12-9) 8 10 7 22–47
AHS (9-5) 8 15 13 21–57
OC: Katie Riney 6, Hailee Johnson 13, Maddie Hayden 2, Rachel Traylor 2, Catherine Head 2, Camille Conkright 6, Ally Maggard 3, Kinsley Goetz 13
AHS: Amaya Curry 12, Shelbie Beatty 19, Zoe Floyd 9, Addison Carter 5, Kassidy Daugherty 4, Amber Dunn 4, Jenna Dant 4
2021 basketball coverage is presented in part by Rhoads & Rhoads Attorneys at Law.