First half struggles ail E-gals in loss to Owensboro Catholic

December 11, 2021 | 12:05 am

Updated December 11, 2021 | 12:58 am

A rough second quarter and a lack of experience hurt the E-gals in a hard fought battle with Owensboro Catholic, as the Lady Aces grabbed a 60-54 win on the road.

The first quarter was a slow one, with Apollo not getting its first basket until two minutes in and the Lady Aces not scoring until four minutes into play.

As the first quarter progressed, turnovers were hurting the flow of Owensboro Catholic’s offense. Despite this, after a put-back layup from senior Camille Conkright at the buzzer, the E-gals only held an 11-10 lead going into the second quarter.

Shortly into the second quarter the Lady Aces hit a three to grab their first lead of the game at 14-13.  Apollo answered right back with a three of their own, but its offense began to falter thanks to Owensboro Catholic’s 1-2-2 zone and fullcourt pressure.

“We knew that they were gonna pressure us and we would have to withstand that,” Head Coach Natalie Payne said. “In the first half I felt like we did a decent job, but we were kind of in a mode of ‘I don’t want to make a mistake,’ I thought. And some of those crucial turnovers turned into layups and they’re a good team when they’re running and flying and passing ahead.”

These turnovers proved costly for the E-gals, as this helped the Lady Aces jump out to a 30-20 lead going into halftime.

In the third quarter Apollo had settled in, looking more comfortable with its defense helping them have more chances offensively.

This led to the E-gals owning the quarter, outscoring Owensboro Catholic 21-9 with sophomore Jennifer Lee leading the way by scoring eight points. However, the Lady Aces were still clinging onto a 39-37 lead going into the fourth.

The final quarter was a back and forth battle, with Apollo owning a 48-45 lead with just under five minutes to play thanks to an and-one finish from senior Amaya Curry.

However, the Lady Aces offense began to click in the final five minutes of play, trying to exploit some mismatches to come back and take a 53-50 lead with 2:36 left.

“I think that they isolated some of our kids when we were playing man-to-man,” Payne said. “We had two bigs out there and they were each time trying to find, maybe a weak-link in their eyes.”

Despite the E-gals best attempts to cut their deficit down with a late three in the final minute, Owensboro Catholic was able to hold on for a 60-54 win.

Head Coach Michael Robertson wasn’t pleased with how they played in the third, but was proud of his team’s response and ability to close the game out in the fourth.

“I think we kind of laxed in that third quarter up ten,” Robertson said. “We kind of lost our intensity and kind of struggled in the second half, but at the end of the game we made winning plays. We did what it takes to win.”

Senior Kinsley Goetz led the way for Owensboro Catholic with 13 points, while sophomore Hailee Johnson (11) and junior Maddie Hayden (10) finished in double figures as well.

Robertson said the key to the Lady Aces offense turning things around in the fourth was bringing their intensity back up on the defensive end, while also being patient on the offensive end.

“We slowed down,” Robertson said. “We were getting out of control and just trying to chuck the ball… We like to play fast, but sometimes playing fast gets us in trouble.”

Taking a few days off to get some rest and be fresh coming into next week with a two-game winning streak under its belt, Owensboro Catholic will look to stay strong when they host Daviess County at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 17.

“They’re going to be ready for us,” Robertson said. “They like to try and play up-tempo a little bit more and they’re going to try and press us and we gotta be ready to match their intensity. In district games throw the records out the window. They’re always going to be a dog fight, so we’ve gotta be ready come next Friday.”

Meanwhile Apollo is riding a two-game winning streak and will look to bounce back when they hit the road to take on McCracken County at 7 p.m. on Saturday. 

“I think we just have to have the mentality that we did in the second half where we gotta be confident in our abilities, because we’ve got some really talented kids,” Payne said. “Playing with the mindset of ‘I want the ball and they’re not going to take the ball away from.’ Just that toughness, that edge… If we can buy into that defensive mentality, good things are going to happen on the other end.”

December 11, 2021 | 12:05 am

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