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The Owen County High School Runnin’ Rebels scored the first basket of the fourth quarter to take the lead. They could not, however, score the last one.
Twice in the Feb. 28 Eighth Region quarterfinal, Owen County found itself behind by at least eight points to Anderson County, but each time, the Owen County boys rallied back.
After tying the game at 7-7 midway through the first quarter, the Bearcats ended the quarter on an 10-1 run to lead 17-8.
After a Justin Shelton basket in the second quarter cut the lead to 20-17, the Rebels seemed to be in good position heading into halftime.
Things changed on Anderson County’s next possession when Austin Cummins knocked down a deep 3-pointer.
At the same time, Anderson County’s Christian Estes was fouled under the basket. The junior made a pair of free throws to complete the rare 5-point play to extend the Bearcat advantage to 25-17.
The two teams would exchange baskets to end the first half with Anderson County in front 27-19.
The Rebels quickly closed the gap to begin the third quarter.
Carson Williams scored and Zach Ripy made a 3-pointer to trim the deficit to 27-24.
Again, Anderson County responded and pushed the lead back to 36-29 halfway through the quarter.
Again facing adversity, it was the Rebels’ turn to respond.
A Hunter Trenary 3-pointer cut the lead to 38-36 with two minutes left in the quarter to force an Anderson County timeout.
A minute later, Williams made two free throws to tie the game at 38-38.
Once again, the two teams exchanged buckets to end the quarter tying the score at 40-40 entering the final eight minutes.
Twice in the fourth quarter, Owen County took a 2-point lead.
Ripy opened the quarter with a lay-up to make the score 42-40.
After Anderson County tied the game Williams made two more free throws to put the Rebels back on top 44-42.
It would be the last time Owen County would lead.
Anderson County tied the game and then took a 46-44 lead with 2:45 to play. Williams scored for Owen County to tie the game at 46-46.
The Bearcats would take the lead for good with just under two minutes left when Luke Mann scored to make the score 48-46.
After an Owen County turnover with 1:30 left in the game, the Rebels came up with a big defensive stop when Williams blocked a shot to give Owen County a chance to even the score or take the lead.
Following a Ripy miss and a rebound by Hunter Trenary, Ripy was fouled with 24-seconds to play. The senior made one-of-two to make the score 48-47.
Anderson County inbounded the ball and was fouled.
After missing the front end of the one-and-one, the Rebels came down with the rebound.
Owen County worked the clock under 10 seconds and got the ball to Williams who went to work.
The freshman got into the paint and put up a highly-contested shot that rimmed out with 2.2 seconds left.
Anderson County pulled down the rebound and was immediately fouled.
Estes calmly stepped to the line for the Bearcats and knocked down both free throws to make the score 50-47.
The Rebels got off one final shot but Ripy’s attempt from just across half-court teased the Owen County faithful but missed and ended the season.
The win avenged a loss by Anderson County to Owen County in last year’s Eighth Region quarterfinals.
Williams finished the night with 16 points and nine rebounds. Ripy added 11 points and five assists while Justin Shelton pitched in with eight points and 11 rebounds.
The game was the final game for three Owen County seniors.
Ripy, Shelton and James Stone finish their careers as the winningest senior class in Owen County High School boys basketball history.
Despite being disappointed by the loss, Owen County High School Head Boys Basketball Coach Devin Duvall said the team and the fans have much to be excited about.
“I am pleased with how this team was able to perform in our league and district,” Duvall said. “In the end, it was a great season for OCHS basketball.”
The Rebels end the season at 20-10. It is the first time the team has had back-to-back 20-win seasons in school history.
They also won the Eighth Region All ‘A’ Classic, reached the quarterfinals of the State All ‘A’ Classic and won the 31st District Tournament.
The district title marked the first time in school history the team has won the district two years in a row.