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A year ago in Owenton, the Lady Rebels reached the semifinals of the All “A” Classic. They opened the tournament with a win over Trimble County before eventually losing to Carroll County. This year’s scenario was not that much different.
After an opening-round win over Trimble County, the Lady Rebels again reached the semifinals. This year, instead of playing Carroll County, Walton-Verona was the Lady Rebels’ opponent after they bested the Lady Panthers in the first round.
Against the Lady Raiders Wednesday night, Rianna Gayheart led Owen County with 12 points as Owen County won 39-30 to advance to Friday night.
Hannah Neeley tossed in eight points while Jensen Wainscott and Lauren Lowe each added six points. Samantha Toole finished with five points and Courtney Waldrop had two.
The win was the second of the season over Trimble County. The Lady Rebels defeated the Lady Raiders in December, 56-36.
The win set up a match-up Friday night between Owen County and Walton-Verona.
The Lady Bearcats advanced to Friday night with a 47-38 win over Carroll County. Walton-Verona came into the game with a record of 12-2 and one of the best teams in the 8th Region.
Owen County was coming into the game with 11 victories and riding a six-game winning streak.
The game could not have started any better for Owen County.
Gayheart opened the scoring with a three from the top of the key and later made a couple of free throws to give the Lady Rebels an early 5-0 lead.
Defensively, the Lady Rebels were also playing well. It took the Lady Bearcats half of the first quarter before they were able to crack the scoring column.
The only problem was that Owen County was struggling early to put the ball in the basket. They were getting good looks but were unable to convert.
After leading 10-4 at the end of the first quarter, the Lady Rebels were outscored 12-4 in the second quarter. A bucket by Walton-Verona’s Jenalee Ginn with three seconds left in the half gave the Lady Bearcats the lead.
Despite trailing at the half, Owen County Coach Bob Osborne and the Lady Rebels had to feel good about the position they were in.
If the start of the game was positive for Owen County, the beginning of the second half was just the opposite.
Walton-Verona came out of the locker room and scored 7 points in the first two minutes to take a 23-14 lead.
They extended the lead to 25-16 before Owen County scored in the second half.
Another late basket propelled the Lady Bearcats into the fourth quarter with a commanding 33-22 lead.
The deficit proved too much for the Lady Rebels as the Lady Bearcats were able to control the clock in the final quarter. Owen County had a couple of changes to narrow the gap, but as was the case throughout the entire game, they were not able to knock down shots.
When the final buzzersounded, Walton-Verona had picked up a 40-30 win and were in the finals against Gallatin County.
Following the game, the Owen County team’s offensive woes did not go unnoticed by Osborne.
“We got people open. We got shots. We just didn’t hit. It just happens. It’s just bad it happened tonight,” Osborne said.
As for the defense, Osborne had nothing but praise.
“I thought our defensive intensity was great,” Osborne said.
Gayheart again led Owen County with 12 points. Neeley added seven points. Toole scored four points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Wainscott played through an injury suffered during warm-ups to score four points. Mariah Fitzgerald had two points while Eko Kemper added one point.
With the loss, the Lady Rebels fell to 11-6 on the season.
On Saturday night, Walton-Verona defeated Gallatin County to claim the championship and advance to Richmond. Owen County’s Gayheart and Neeley were named to the all-tournament team.
The Lady Rebels get no rest next week as they will quickly have another shot at Walton-Verona. The two teams play again tonight in Owenton at 7:30 p.m.
Owen County will then travel to take on South Oldham Monday.