Owensboro is justifiably known for the inside play of 6-foot-9 Aric Holman and 6-7 Justin Miller.
But the Red Devils are more well-rounded than that reputation might imply.
And it was a true team victory Saturday as Owensboro found a way to score a 69-65 overtime victory over Covington Catholic in the semifinals of the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ State Tournament.
“Aric and Justin, they get all the ink,” Devils Coach Rod Drake said. “And these (other) guys take out the garbage.”
With the win, Owensboro (30-4) reached the State finals for the first time since winning it all in 1980. This is the school’s record 43rd appearance overall, in search of its fourth title.
Miller led Saturday’s victory with 18 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, while Holman had 11 points and nine boards.
Darion Morrow drained three three-pointers and finished with 18 points, Jacoby Harris had 14 and Dylan Sanford eight.
The Red Devils were deadly from the field, going 25 of 44 (56.8 percent) while holding CovCath to 22 of 49 (44.9 percent).
Covington Catholic, seeking to become the first back-to-back champion since Fairdale in 1990 and ‘91, was led by Cole VonHandorf with 21 points. Bo Schuh had 15 points and five rebounds, while Cooper Theobald had 14 points.
“Just one of those nights where stuff doesn’t go your way,” said Schuh, who fouled out late in regulation. “But I think I speak for everyone when I say we left everything on the floor. There was nothing else we could have done.”
The Colonels (31-6) led 51-47 with less than two minutes left in regulation.
But Owensboro got a three-pointer by Morrow and a three-point play by Harris to take a 53-51 lead.
After Theobald made one free throw, Sanford made two with 13.7 seconds left for a 55-52 Red Devils lead.
CovCath forced extra time when Matthew Shumate drilled a three-pointer with five seconds left.
“It was a great shot, obviously,” Sanford said. “But we had no doubt in our mind that we were going to keep playing and win the game.”
In overtime, the Colonels led 59-58 before Owensboro took control.
Miller scored on the low post. Then Morrow hit a floater as he went across the lane, drew a foul and converted a three-point play.
“I seen an opening and took it,” he said. “I didn’t really think it was a foul, but he called it.”
Twice CovCath pulled to within two points, but could get no closer.
The lead was 66-63 when CovCath took its final timeout. Coach Scott Ruthsatz said he was looking for a quick basket and foul. Instead, Theobald was called for traveling with 14.9 seconds left.
Harris sank two free throws at 14.4, and Holman made one at 8.2 for a 69-63 lead. Theobald scored on a put-back just before time expired.
“I thought we came out a little tight,” Drake said. “But these guys are warriors. They never quit. … We knew we were going to win the ball game. It was just a matter of time.”
“A great high school basketball game,” Ruthsatz said. “This is what everybody pays admission to see. Unfortunately, tonight we came out on the short end. These guys left their hearts out.
“Hats off to Owensboro. I mean, tey hunkered down and they made big shots when they needed it. I’m so proud of our guys.”
Owensboro is justifiably known for the inside play of 6-foot-9 Aric Holman and 6-7 Justin Miller.
That’s what Covington Catholic showed down the stretch Friday when it moved past Doss with a 61-48 quarterfinals victory in the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ State Tournament.
The defending champions trailed 41-40 late in the third quarter before taking control in front of a Rupp Arena crowd of 11,178.
The Colonels made their move with their top scorer, Bo Schuh, on the bench with four fouls. And they did so by holding Doss without a field goal for more than 10 minutes.
“I thought the second half, similar to (Wednesday), was a half where we ran our sets,” CovCath Coach Scott Ruthsatz said. “We handled their pressure for the most part, and we rebounded.
“We had some big guys step up when we got in some foul trouble. Will Heppler, for instance. I thought he really did well banging inside. I thought we executed everything offensively that we wanted to. I thought defensively, just going to a zone, trying to keep them out of the lane (worked).”
With the zone keeping Doss limited to mostly perimeter shots, and with the Colonels banging the boards, CovCath’s transition game got in gear.
The win puts the fifth-rated Colonels (31-5) into Saturday’s semifinals against Owensboro.
Cole VonHandorf topped the CovCath attack with 17 points. Schuh wound up with 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three blocks and two steals, although limited to 23 minutes.
Andy Flood and Cooper Theobald each scored 11, with Flood grabbing six of the Colonels’ 38 rebounds. Heppler, in 13 minutes off the bench, had four points and four rebounds.
No. 11 Doss (27-7) got 11 points from Ramon Collins. Dujuanta Weaver had 10 points, five of the Dragons’ 27 rebounds and five assists.
“I thought that if we lost to any team, it would be a well-coached team. It would be a team that had been here before, had experience,” Doss Coach Tony Williams said. “It’d be a team that’s tough by nature, a team that will fight you back. I’m not proud to lose, but I can accept losing to a tough team like that.”
Doss took a 41-40 lead on a Collins put-back with 2:45 left in the third quarter.
But that would be the Dragons’ last field goal until the final 30 seconds of the game.
Schuh made a free throw to tie the game at 41.
He exited with 1:39 left in the third, though, after he and Doss’ Weaver were called for a double-technical, Schuh’s fourth foul of the game.
Heppler came in and promptly scored on the low post to give CovCath a 43-41 lead through three quarters.
Doss got a free throw by Terrell Gray to open the fourth-quarter scoring, but the next 12 points belonged to the Colonels.
Theobald scored on a drive, Heppler hit a point-blank jumper and VonHandorf scored on a drive.
VonHandorf scored the last six points of the flurry from the free-throw line, where he would finish 9-for-10.
CovCath finished 19 of 43 (44.2 percent) from the field, 22 of 32 (68.8 percent) at the foul line. Doss went 18 of 52 (34.6 percent) and 8 of 13 (61.5 percent).
“They were tough and they contested every shot,” Williams said. “… I don’t remember getting a clean look out there, so hats off to them.”
In the tourney’s most lopsided game in four years, Bowling Green buried Elliott County 86-44 Thursday in the first round of the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ State Tournament.
Not since eventual champion Christian County rolled to an 83-40 win over Shelby Valley in the first round of the 2011 tourney had Rupp Arena seen a Sweet Sixteen game as one-sided as this.
“I’m really proud of my guys this evening,” Purples Coach D.G. Sherrill said. “We played a very unfamiliar opponent and watched them on film. We knew how hard they played, how aggressive their guards were, and they had a couple guys that could really shoot it. We had to focus on trying to prepare for a team that we hadn’t seen and didn’t have the chance to get a lot of information on.”
A team that Bowling Green would dominate in every phase.
“We outrebounded them by almost double, by 19; that was a big key,” Sherrill said. “We were aggressive, got to the free-throw line. I just thought that our guys came tonight with a look in their eyes, trying to win a basketball game.”
Ninth-rated Bowling Green (29-5) thus advances to Friday’s quarterfinals. The Purples made it to the semifinals last year.
Kyran Jones came off the bench to lead Bowling Green with 20 points and eight rebounds. Tucker Sine had 18 points and eight boards. Terry Taylor added a dozen points.
Chase Porter totaled 15 points and five rebounds for No. 16 Elliott County (22-8). Korbin Spencer added 11 points.
Bowling Green was the most athletic team the Lions faced “by three-fold,” Elliott Coach Greg Adkins said. “Their speed and quickness is something.”
“In Eastern Kentucky we see good athletes, and we have several in the region. Tonight we’ve seen a team full of great athletes.”
Bowling Green scored the first eight points of the game and was off and running.
A second-quarter 9-0 stretch helped the Purples to a 43-19 halftime lead.
Bowling Green outshot Elliott in the first half 60.9 percent (14 of 23) to 30 percent (9 of 30). From three-point range, Bowling Green was 3 of 4 (75 percent) to Elliott’s 1 of 10 (10 percent), and from the foul line it was Purples 12 of 14 (85.7 percent), Lions 0-for-2.
It was more of the same in the second half.
When Sine hit a three-pointer with 5:57 left in the fourth quarter, that put Bowling Green up by 35 and sent the game to a running clock.
“Being up here for my third year as a high schooler, it puts us at somewhat of an advantage,” Sine said. “I’ve been here before and played in this type of atmosphere.”
While the Purples made 31 of 56 shots (55.4 percent), Elliott County finished 17 of 58 (29.3 percent). Both teams made five three-pointers, although Bowling Green needed only seven attempts and Elliott County took 23. The Purples outrebounded the Lions 44-25.
“I think they did exactly what we thought they were going to do,” Adkins said. “It’s just a different level of speed, a different level of quickness and strength.”
In the end, top-rated Ballard just had too much depth.
The Bruins wore down Johnson Central in the fourth quarter and pulled away to an 82-69 victory Thursday in the first round of the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ State Tournament.
Not that Ballard Coach Chris Renner was able to rest his starters as much as he would have liked.
No. 14 Johnson Central (23-10) was still within 62-60 with six minutes to play.
Ballard scored the next nine points and 14 of 16 to break the game open.
“You’ve got to give Johnson Central just a tremendous amount of credit,” said Chris Renner, coach of Ballard (32-2). “We knew they were a good basketball team. We knew that they had some tough seniors. They were prepared for this game. We knew they weren’t going to back down.
“Our big keys, we felt, were to just be able to apply enough pressure, get the tempo of the game going to where hopefully our depth would play a little bigger role. They hung on with us a little longer than I would have wanted it to happen, but that’s a credit to them.”
The Bruins, now 27-0 against in-state competition, will take a 27-game winning streak into Friday’s quarterfinals in Rupp Arena.
Jalen Perry, a 6-foot-1 senior, led the winners with 23 points. Corey Douglas, a 6-7 senior, totaled 14 points and 15 rebounds, including eight of the Bruins’ 21 offensive boards.
Anthony Eaves also scored 14 points, while Jamil Wilson had 13 points and four assists.
Jake Ramsey led the Ballard subs with five points and seven rebounds.
Kyle Gullett, a 6-6 senior, topped the Golden Eagles with 23 points and seven rebounds. Braxton Blair had 17 points and seven assists, while his cousin Mason Blair had 12 points.
Johnson Central was making its fourth straight appearance in the tournament.
“Just a really hard-fought game,” Coach Tommy McKenzie said. “This game we felt like was an opportunity for our guys to make a pretty good statement here. It’s not often that your team gets an opportunity to play that David and Goliath role. It’s not often that you get an opportunity to write this type of an ending to a story that these (four seniors) have written here. They’ve had an awesome road here over the last four years, and you hate to see it end. But we’d rather it end here at Rupp Arena than anywhere else.”
Ballard’s 40-34 halftime lead was its biggest to that point.
The Bruins scored the first three points of the second half to widen the margin to nine points, but Johnson Central rallied to within 55-52 through three quarters.
Ballard’s fourth-quarter 14-2 knockout punch was fueled by nine Perry points, including a pair of dunks.
“We’re really a good second-half team,” Perry said. “We’ve had a lot of games where we struggled the first half. But we knew we were going to wear them down eventually.”
“It was a big factor,” McKenzie said of Ballard’s depth. “They are very athletic and very quick, and it seemed like whenever they went to their bench they didn’t lose a whole lot. … I just thought as the game went on, some of that depth hurt us. And that’s unusual for us. We’re usually that team that has more depth than the teams that we’re playing.”
Too much Cole VonHandorf meant the Camels would not be getting over on Hump Day.
VonHandorf scored 29 points Wednesday to lead defending champion Covington Catholic to a 64-43 victory over Campbell County’s Camels in the first round of the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ State Basketball Tournament.
VonHandorf, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, hit 10 of 16 field goals, including 2 of 3 three-pointers, and went 7-for-9 at the free-throw line as the fifth-rated Colonels (30-5) cruised into Friday’s quarterfinals.
“We lost a lot of seniors last year, so I knew I had to step up, along with my senior point guard Cooper (Theobald),” said VonHandorf, who scored his 1,000th career point in the first half. “I knew we had to kind of control the game. And we came out early and we were clicking all together, passing it around and then we were all making our shots. So they made it easy for me.”
Theobald finished with 12 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Andy Flood added 10 points.
The Colonels, winners of seven straight, fired in 21 of 41 shots (51.2 percent), while holding Campbell to 16 of 42 (38.1 percent). CovCath also turned the ball over only six times, while Campbell had 14 errors.
“Early, we did some good things to stay in the game,” Camels Coach Aric Russell said. “We were playing some 2-3 matchup, trying to force them to shoot a little bit. They hit some shots. VonHandorf was killing us, hitting everything. We let him get away from us too much.
“So we came out second half, tried to play some man-to-man on him. Didn’t do too well with that either.”
Matt Wilson led No. 8 Campbell (25-10) with 14 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. De’Ondre Jackson had 11 points and three assists.
CovCath led 32-26 at halftime, getting 14 points from VonHandorf.
Campbell County used an 8-0 run to build a 20-14 lead early in the second quarter.
The Colonels soon answered with an 11-0 spurt to take a 28-22 lead.
VonHandorf started the rally with a three-pointer.
After Matthew Shumate scored on a slash across the lane, VonHandorf scored on a put-back. Baskets by Bo Schuh and Theobald capped the run.
A third-quarter run of 12-0 pushed the lead to 44-28 and the Colonels never lost control.
“I think second half we really came out with a lot of energy,” winning coach Scott Ruthsatz said. “I think we started the game with some energy, hitting the boards real hard, and that kind of set the tone. Then we kind of took our lull.”
That may have been due to a week off and/or playing under the bright lights of Rupp Arena, but the lull didn’t last.
“Second half, we just really talked about our defense,” Ruthsatz said. “If we can really hang in there defensively, keep Wilson from (scoring) inside, force them to take perimeter jump shots, then we should be able to get some rebounds and really start our offense.”
CovCath wound up with scoring advantages of 34-24 in the paint, 14-3 on second-chance shots and 15-4 in points off turnovers. The Colonels also cashed in on 19 of 29 free throws, while the Camels went 9-for-12.
“We were on our heels all night on defense because we couldn’t make any shots,” Russell said. “… When you’re missing shots on a team like them, they’re going to push it the other way. It puts way too much pressure on your defense and then it just starts snowballing. I felt like we gave up too many offensive boards also.
“But VonHandorf handled this game and it was his tonight, and we didn’t have an answer for him.”
Tournament experience and a determination to stick to the game plan added up for an Owensboro victory in Wednesday’s opening game of the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ State Basketball Tournament.
The Red Devils, making their record 43rd State tourney appearance, led all the way en route to a 55-38 triumph over Collins.
“I thought we came out a little sluggish early on,” Owensboro Coach Rod Drake said, “but we played to our game plan. … We knew that they were a very methodical, slow team and that if we put our defensive pressure on them we could get them to play our style of play. And I thought we did that three-quarters of the ball game. These guys stepped up after the first quarter.
“Psychologically, being up here last year really helped us out a lot.”
The win moves the Devils into Friday’s quarterfinals in Rupp Arena.
Owensboro rode a big one-two punch in the post as 6-foot-7 Justin Miller scored 18 points, and 6-9 Aric Holman totaled 15 points, nine rebounds, three assists and four blocks. Darion Morrow, a 5-9 senior guard, also had 15 points, plus four assists.
“I think they’re two of the best post players in the state,” Drake said of Miller and Holman. “… I don’t think there’s anybody that can stop these two. They complement each other well.”
Seventh-rated Owensboro (28-4) led 28-18 at halftime.
The Red Devils opened a gap by coming out of a timeout with an 8-0 second-quarter run that made it 26-16.
“Out of that timeout, we had two turnovers, and I think that was kind of like the summary of the game,” Collins Coach Chris Gaither said. “Any time we were close and any time we were ready to make a run, we turned the ball over. … I feel like if we ever got the lead, we’re good enough controlling the basketball, controlling the tempo, we would be good enough to win the game.”
The 13th-rated Titans (26-9) were led by Brent Kidwell wit 11 points and three assists. Mark Sorrells added nine points.
Deion Cochran, averaging 16.8, was held to four first-half points and finished 1-for-10 from the field while being hounded by Owensboro’s defensive stopper.
“Airius Phillips, our point guard, he’s a presence,” Drake said. “He’s probably one of the toughest kids in Western Kentucky. Broke his arm midway through the football season, came back, finished at State finals and he came over with us. He loves guarding the other team’s best player. He wanted him today.”
Collins was still within nine points late in the third quarter at 35-26.
Owensboro scored the next seven points, kick-starting a 16-3 spurt that left no doubt which team would win.
“Owensboro did a great job of attacking the post early in the game and we struggled,” Gaither said. “I think they scored the first five possessions of the game, which we really wanted to create things off of our defense to start the game.
“Offensively, throughout the game, throughout the season we talked a lot about our turnover and assist ratio. We had 15 turnovers to nine assists, and we really struggled getting in the flow on offense throughout the game.”
Owensboro finished with a 32-14 advantage with points in the paint, 13-2 in points off of turnovers.
The Red Devils also made 15 of 21 free throws to Collins’ 1-for-3, and outrebounded the Titans 29-20.
BOWLING GREEN — Abby Hassert picked a fine time for her only points of the game Sunday.
Hassert drove down the lane and put in the winning basket, plus a free throw, with 5.5 seconds left to vault Covington Holy Cross to a 35-32 victory over Allen County-Scottsville in the Houchens Industries/KHSAA Girls’ Sweet Sixteen championship game.
“I knew I had to do something,” said Hassert, a 5-foot-10 senior. “I knew that we had to get the ball to somebody to score and I saw the lane wide open, and I knew I had to take it.”
An E.A. Diddle Arena crowd of 5,335 roared.
After mutltiple timeouts, Allen County-Scottsville had a last shot to tie. But Morgan Rich’s long three-point try from near her team bench hit off the backboard and rim.
“We got exactly what we wanted,” Patriots Coach Brad Bonds said. “We got Morgan in the right spot for the shot. We threw it up to Savannah (Gregory), who threw it to Morgan. It was perfect. It was executed great. We got the shot we wanted.”
Holy Cross (33-3), out of the 9th Region, ended the season on a 22-game winning streak.
The Indians, with a school enrollment of 406, also won the All “A” title back on Feb. 1. They are the fourth team ever to sweep the KHSAA and All “A” titles in the same season, joining Nicholas County (1993) Hazard (1997) and Lexington Christian (2007).
“It doesn’t matter the size. It really doesn’t matter the size,” said Deja Turner, who led Holy Cross with 13 points and five rebounds, and who was named tourney MVP. “We came in here against some big, big teams. We knocked off some very big teams, and we came through and we pulled it out twice.”
Ally Mayhaus added 10 points for the winners.
Holy Cross also beat the Patriots on Dec. 22, 61-54 in Lexington.
In the Sweet Sixteen, Holy Cross opened with a 51-33 win over Bell County, then edged top-rated Elizabethtown 41-40. In the semifinals, the Indians beat Male 47-37.
Allen County-Scottsville (30-5), the 4th Region champion, had an eight-game winning streak snapped.
“Bottom line, they made a big-time play. A big-time play,” Bonds said. “And that’s what the State Tournament’s all about is kids and very high quality basketball teams going at it, and unfortunately we came out on the short end of the stick. But a lot of credit to them. I thought it was two outstanding basketball teams battling on both ends.”
Rich, a 5-10 University of Kentucky recruit, led all scorers with 20 points. She also had three rebounds and two assists.
Gregory was the next-highest ACS scorer with five. She and Holly Robinson grabbed seven rebounds each,
Holy Cross Coach Kes Murphy, whose sister Donna was Kentucky’s first Miss Basketball in 1976, credited the championship to a killer schedule that had his team well prepared for Sunday.
The game was tied 18-18 at halftime, with ACS holding a 12-3 advantage in rebounds. Robinson has six of those.
But Holy Cross had a 9-0 edge in point off turnovers.
The Indians led 27-24 through three quarters.
In a game that saw seven ties and six lead changes, the Patriots took their final lead, 32-31, when Rich hit two of three free throws with 2:29 left.
A Mayhaus free throw at 1:09 tied the score.
With the Patriots patiently looking for a game-winning shot, Holy Cross point guard Dajah McClendon picked Rich’s pocket with 32 seconds left.
“I just knew I had to get up and get one for my team,” McClendon said. “We needed that.”
Holy Cross took a timeout at 19.6, which led to Hassert’s game-winning play.
“She’d better make it,” Murphy said he thought at the time of the drive. “And you know what, she’s not an offensive player. For what we need. But we know she can play, we know she can make passes and for her to finish and give us this, it means everything.”
BOWLING GREEN — Morgan Rich and Savannah Gregory scored 15 points each as Allen County-Scottsville upended Mason County 49-42 Saturday in the semifinals of the Houchens Industries/KHSAA Girls’ Sweet Sixteen in E.A. Diddle Arena.
Gregory added nine rebounds for the winners and Rich had six.
Maddie Boone paced Mason County (23-12) with nine points and six boards. Jordan Frodge added eight points.
Allen County-Scottsville (30-4), winner of eight in a row, will meet Covington Holy Cross in Sunday’s championship game.
The Lady Patriots beat Mason County 62-41 on Dec. 30.
Mason County, starting all sophomores, led 27-21 at halftime. That was thanks to going 5-for-6 from three-point range and 4-for-4 at the free-throw line. Allen County-Scottsville shot 1-for-5 from long distance and did not attempt a free throw.
Briana McNutt hit two three-pointers and shared first-half team scoring honors with Boone, each scoring six for the Royals.
University of Kentucky signee Rich led the Patriots with 11 points.
ACS ruled the backboards 18-9 in the first half, led by Gregory with six caroms.
The Patriots led 13-9 early in the second quarter, but Mason then surged with an 18-4 run to lead 27-17.
Allen County-Scottsville opened the second half on a 9-0 run to take a 30-27 lead, and the Patriots were up 34-30 heading into the fourth quarter.
Sarah Sutton started the 9-0 run with a free throw. Then, Holly Robinson drove to the hole for a basket, and Gregory did likewise. Ashley King dropped in two free throws, and Gregory capped the flurry with a back-door layup.
A pair of Gregory free throws to open the fourth quarter gave the Patriots a 36-30 cushion.
The Royals came back to tie, though, getting back-to-back three-pointers by Frodge and Brianna Littleton.
Tied again at 38, Allen County-Scottsville scored the next five points to regain control.
Jordan Brooks made a free throw, King sank a pair and Robinson converted a steal into a layup for a 43-38 lead with 1:28 left.
The Patriots preserved their lead by scoring their last six points at the free-throw line.
* Semifinals attendance was 4,461.
BOWLING GREEN — The first game in the semifinals of the Houchens Industries/KHSAA Girls’ Sweet Sixteen came down to a battle of wills.
Could the little school that favors a deliberate pace match up with the big-city team that likes to rock and roll?
Saturday’s answer was an emphatic yes as All “A” champion Covington Holy Cross knocked off Male 47-37 in E.A. Diddle Arena.
The Indians’ 21st win in a row put them into Sunday’s finals. Holy Cross reached the semifinals with a stunning 41-40 victory over top-rated Elizabethtown.
“Wow, again!” Coach Kes Murphy said after dispatching Male. “That first half was tough. We were outside ourselves. We were not executing our defense. Were sluggish. We looked as though we were content having beaten E-town.
“Second half, we came out and it looked more like Holy Cross.”
Deja Turner, who hit the game-winning shot against E-town, led Holy Cross (32-3) with 20 points. Ally Mayhaus added 12 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.
And rebounds played a huge role, with the Indians owning the glass 37-28. Of those 37, 15 came on the offensive end. Holy Cross outscored the Bulldogs 24-12 in the paint and 13-7 on second-chance points.
Male (26-5), with only one senior in its starting lineup, was paced by Emilia Sexton with 12 points and four rebounds. I’Liyah Green had nine points, four rebounds and three blocks.
Despite not playing up to its usual standard early on, Holy Cross used a matchup zone to control the first-half tempo and take a 19-18 lead into the locker room.
Then the Indians used a 10-0 run in the third quarter to open a 31-20 lead.
Male never came closer than six points from there, and trailed by as many as 12.
“It seems as though we weren’t supposed to be here,” Murphy said. “People will ask me how did you get your team to play as well as they are in a state championship game? It’s because we believe. It’s what we worked for. We want our kids to dream big, and they do.”
“You’ve got to give all the credit to Holy Cross,” Male Coach Champ Ligon said. “They’ve got great players, they’re well-coached. I knew it was going to be a really tough matchup for us because it’s usually easier to slow a team down than speeding one up. We weren’t able to turn them over, and they outrebounded us.
“If you don’t rebound, it’s hard to consistently run. I think we missed some shots we would usually make, too, which didn’t help matters. But credit to them. … I think you’re looking at the state championship team. They may prove me wrong tomorrow, but it’s going to take something special to beat them.”
BOWLING GREEN — Allen County-Scottsville rallied with the final four points of the game to edge Graves County 39-36 in Friday’s quarterfinals of the Houchens Industries/KHSAA Girls’ Sweet Sixteen in E.A. Diddle Arena.
University of Kentucky signee Morgan Rich led the winners with 13 points, despite struggling all night. Rich finished 3-for-13 from the field, missing all three of her three-point attempts, but dropped in 7 of 8 free throws and grabbed six rebounds. She also blocked four shots.
Holly Robinson added eight points and eight rebounds.
The Lady Patriots (29-4) will take a seven-game winning streak into Saturday’s 9 p.m. (Eastern) semifinals against Mason County.
Graves (27-6) got 14 points from Bailey Hawkins. Alyssa Barnard had 10 points and nine rebounds.
The Lady Eagles took a 36-35 lead on Hawkins’ three-point play with 1:41 left.
ACS recaptured the lead when Savannah Gregory hit both ends of a one-and-one with 1:28 left.
Graves held the ball until the final seconds, when Hawkins tried to drive to the basket. Rich blocked the shot, grabbed the ball and was fouled with 9.7 seconds left.
Rich made both halves of the one-and-one.
Graves was unable to get off another shot, as an errant pass sailed out of bounds with two-tenths of a second left.