The Apollo E-gals bookended Monday’s game with the Owensboro Lady Devils with solid quarters and despite going cold from the offensive end at times, Apollo was able to grab its third-straight win and snap Owensboro’s five-game winning streak.
The E-gals held Owensboro scoreless in the fourth quarter and even though they only scored five in the frame, Apollo was able to grab the 35-26 victory and improve to 8-4 on the year.
E-gal coach Natalie Payne said it might not have been pretty but it was a win as they were able grind it out when things got tough.
“In spots, our defense was pretty good tonight,” she said. “Obviously we held them scoreless in the fourth so I think we did a pretty good job defensively but we’re still not consistent on both ends. With the lack of practice time and the lack of being together as much as we hoped to have to been together at this point in time, we’re just not there yet. When our shots aren’t falling, thank goodness tonight our defense held up when it needed to and we were able to hold them.”
Owensboro coach Jansen Locher echoed his counterparts sentiment.
The Lady Devils had won their last five coming into Monday’s district matchup.
“It played like a district tournament game,” he said. “It was low scoring, defense is going to win. I thought we did a heck of a job defensively. They have some really talented players over there and they have great shooters. In my opinion, they are one of the better teams in the 3rd Region but I thought it showed we could compete.
“We just have to do a little bit more offensively, get some more buckets. As coaches, we just have to drop some extra plays and get our girls in better positions to score the ball. The effort was there tonight, I thought the rebounding was there. They scored more than we did and that’s how you win the game.”
Apollo led 11-6 after the first in part to the play of senior Zoe Floyd as she had six after the opening frame.
Foul trouble put Floyd on the bench for the second and thus started the shift toward the Lady Devils.
Payne said Floyd being out of the game was a big loss during the frame.
“Zoe was on the bench in foul trouble and she was really helping us inside against that zone and even against their man, she was kind of having her way,” Payne said. “When we didn’t have her on the floor, we settled a little bit on some outside shots. I think so many possessions of settling in a row, leads to the wind coming out of our sail. Then we had to go back to digging down deep and just trying to get stops and score out of our defense.”
Payne added Floyd was a big target in the post and helps them in many ways.
“She makes us go in a lot of ways and we’ve got to work on that,” Payne said. “We’ve got to learn to play without her.”
The Lady Devils were not only amping up their offense after the first but freshman Alyrica Hughes was continued her stifling defense that racked up steal after steal in the game.
“I’m very confident I can have Alyrica the other team’s best player and she’s going to hold her own,” he said. “I don’t want to speak for other people but there’s nobody in this region that wants her to guard them one-on-one because she makes it so difficult for you. She guards me in practice and shuts me down too. As a freshman, although we’d like for her to score the ball, we know she can score, she does so many other things for us that even when she’s not scoring, she has to stay in the game because she’s great with the ball in her hands and defensively, she’s just active. She’s been rebounding well the last few games … Every time has to meet that same excitement she plays with and that same tenacity that she does for longer periods of time.”
The E-gals led 20-18 at the break before nearly doubling up the Devils in the second half.
Owensboro hits the court tonight when it takes on Hopkinsville on the road while the E-gals play Thursday at home against Bowling Green.
Monday marks the second 9th District win for Apollo this season but they’ve now finally seen the three other teams in the district.
Payne said she now knows where they stand.
“We needed this and we need this kind of gritty, ugly games because that’s the way it is come tournament time,” she said. “You know personnel, you know how to guard a kid a certain way, you know how to shut down and key on somebody a certain way. We’ve got to fight through that and be gritty defensively. That’s how it is come tournament time. Mys well get used to it.”
APOLLO 35, OWENSBORO 26
AHS (8-4) 11 9 10 5–35
OHS (9-9) 6 12 8 0–26
AHS: Amaya Curry 11, Shelbie Beatty 2, Zoe Floyd 9, Addison Carter 5, Kassidy Daugherty 5, Amber Dunn 3
OHS: Krystell Pappas 2, Alyrica Hughes 4, Brooklyn Williams 4, Lyric Lawrence 13, Lizy Phillips 1, Lindsey Gibson 2
2021 basketball coverage is presented in part by Rhoads & Rhoads Attorneys at Law.