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Owen County High School Head Girls Basketball Coach Bob Osborne would like to bottle up the first quarter of Friday night’s game with Grant County and take it with him into next week’s 31st District Tournament. He also might want to find a way to leave the second quarter in Owenton.
The Lady Rebels began the night by honoring three seniors. Emilie Davis, Eko Kemper and Jensen Wainscott were each recognized before taking the court for the final time at home.
Each player was noted for having contributed to the basketball team and for being solid students in the classroom.
Each girl had thought about the night for a couple of weeks and were nervous about how they might respond.
After the game, Wainscott said nerves were something she had to overcome early in the game.
“I think it affected me when I first got out there because I was kind of sad,” Wainscott said.
The Lady Braves scored the first four points of the game. For the rest of the quarter, Owen County outscored Grant County 18-4 to take what seemed like a comfortable lead in the second quarter. The Lady Rebels built the lead with pressure defense that forced the Lady Braves into multiple turnovers.
The second quarter was much different as Owen County was not able to extend the lead and allowed Grant County to get back into the game from the free-throw line.
For the first half, the visitors made 13 of 16 from the charity stripe while Owen County could not get into a rhythm on the offensive end.
Going into halftime, Owen County clung to a 26-24 lead.
The lead did not last as Grant County took a 31-29 lead with 3:30 left in the third quarter after Billie Hearn grabbed the rebound of a missed free throw and put it back in.
The Lady Braves extended the lead to 33-29. A minute later, Rianna Gayheart drained a three to cut the deficit to 33-32. Grant County took that same lead into the fourth quarter.
When asked after the game whether the thought of losing on Senior Night was something they were afraid of or a motivator, each senior said the same thing – “Both.”
In the fourth quarter, the Lady Rebels began doing a good job of driving to the basket and then dishing off to a teammate for an easy basket.
Two of those recipients were Kemper and Courtney Waldrop.
The freshman Waldrop gave Owen County the lead for good when she scored off an assist from Kemper to give her team a 37-35 advantage.
The Lady Braves, however, did not go away and remained in the game until Gayheart blocked the shot of Tyanna Workman into the hands of Wainscott who drove the length of the floor for a lay-up to give Owen County a 51-42 lead with less than three-minutes remaining.
From there, the Lady Rebels were able to maintain the advantage and won the game 57-46.
Another key in the second half was the Lady Rebels’ ability to play aggressive defense without committing fouls. While Grant County shot 16 free throws in the first half, they had just four attempts in the second.
While the night belonged to the three seniors, it was evident that the future of Owen County basketball is bright.
Gayheart, a sophomore, finished the game with 20 points while Waldrop added 12 points. Kemper also had 12 points while fellow seniors Wainscott and Davis had six points and two points respectively.
Hannah Neeley added three points while Mariah Fitzgerald finished the game with two points.
The win improved Owen County to 15-9 and meant that the seniors will have won at least 15 games each of the last four years.
Since Friday night, the team has been preparing for the 31st District Tournament, which began Tuesday at Gallatin County.
Owen County opened the tournament by taking on Henry County while Gallatin County played Carroll County. The two winners will meet at 7 p.m. Friday night and both will advance to the 8th Region Tournament to be held next week at Simon Kenton High School in Independence.
The Lady Rebels are hoping to do something that has never been done in the history of the program by winning their third-straight district championship.
When asked about the team’s attitude going into the tournaments, Kemper said the Lady Rebels are “confident, but not over-confident.”