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The past week for the Owen County Lady Rebels was one of contrasts.
The week began with a trip to South Oldham to play one of the better teams in the 8th region. The week ended with a home game against Williamstown, a team that is not as highly regarded.
While the Lady Rebels dropped a 49-45 decision to the Lady Dragons, they played better in defeat than they did in a 34-28 win over the Lady Demons.
In the Jan. 26 game at South Oldham, the Lady Rebels got off to a good start. They opened up a 19-11 lead in the first quarter. Rianna Gayheart knocked down four three-pointers to set the early tone.
The Lady Dragons eventually came back and kept the game close for the rest of the contest. In the end, it was South Oldham who made more plays and hit more shots to hold on for the 49-45 win.
Gayheart led the way with 20 points. Hannah Neeley finished the game with seven points while Samantha Toole added six. Jensen Wainscott finished the contest with five points to go along with Courtney Waldrop who tossed in four. Eko Kemper had two points and Mariah Fitzgerald had one point.
On Wednesday night against Williamstown, it was the Lady Rebels who found themselves in an early hole. The Lady Demons jumped out to an early 9-2 lead before Owen County got things going.
After falling behind, Owen County scored the final seven points of the first quarter to tie the game at 9-9. In the second eight minutes, the Lady Rebels outscored the Lady Demons 12-6 to take a 21-15 advantage into the locker room.
Twice in the second half, Owen County opened up a nine-point lead. Both times, however, Williamstown battled back. With less than 30 seconds to play in the third quarter, the Lady Demons cut the lead to 27-23.
Toole opened up the fourth quarter by scoring five consecutive points to give her squad a 32-23 lead with 6:22 to play. At that point, the Lady Rebels seemed to be in control.
Owen County, however, could not put the game away thanks to poor shooting and were fortunate Williamstown was having the same struggle. Some of that was due in part to solid defense by Owen County.
Trailing 34-27 with 1:21 left in the game, the Lady Demons got the ball back with a chance to cut into the lead. Instead, they turned the ball over and scored only one free throw the rest of the game, allowing Owen County to take home a 34-28 win.
Toole led the Lady Rebels with 12 points and six rebounds. She also had four blocks. Gayheart added nine points and had six steals. Lauren Lowe had four points while Emile Davis came off the bench to give her team a spark with three points. She also played well defensively. Waldrop, Neeley and Kemper each finished with two points.
With the win, the Lady Rebels improved to 12-8 on the year.
When asked after the game what things he would like to see his team improve on, Owen County Coach Robert Osborne’s answer came before the question was even out.
“Shooting,” Osborne said. “We’re a good defensive team. We just have to be able to put the ball in the hole.”
Another issue addressed by both Osborne and some players dealt with the team’s focus going into games.
Each expressed concern that the team was not always as focused as they needed to be against certain opponents.
Owen County girls had a chance to improve their focus when they hosted Western Hills Monday night, and they did. The Lady Rebels outscored the Lady Wolverines by 17, with a final score of 53-36.
The Lady Rebels will then travel to Oldham County for a rematch of last year’s opening round game in the 8th Region Tournament. The Lady Colonels won that night 43-40. Friday night’s game should be close.
The last three times the two teams have played the games have been decided by three points or less with the Lady Colonels winning two of the three.
The Lady Rebels will close out the week by playing host to Whitefield Academy Saturday night.