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Saturday night, Jan. 24, 2009, is a date that most people in Owen County will not soon forget.
On that night in Carrollton, Henry County defeated Owen County on a half court shot at the buzzer to propel themselves to Richmond and the All “A” Classic State Tournament.
The picture of the team holding their runner-up trophy was one where the red eyes were not caused by the flash of the camera.
Following the game, many people wondered how the team would respond. The Rebels’ record was 9-10 and their hearts were still laying smashed on the gym floor in Carrollton.
Over the next three weeks, the Rebels played six games but won just two.
Heading into the final home game, knowing they were going to face Gallatin County in the first round of the 31st District Tournament, confidence was in short supply.
A funny thing, however, happened on the way to a miserable finish, the Owen County Rebels found their groove.
Not only did Owen County close out the year with a 63-49 thumping of Trimble County, but they traveled back to Carroll County and defeated both Gallatin County and Henry County to claim the 31st District Championship.
At the 8th Region Tournament at Henry County, the Rebels survived poor free-throw shooting down the stretch to defeat Grant County in overtime to advance to the regional semifinals where they lost to the eventual 8th Region champs, Anderson County.
One year later, the Rebels find themselves in a similar position.
Owen County is coming off a disappointing overtime loss to Gallatin County in the first round of the All “A” Classic.
Once again, it was a game the Rebels appeared to have won. But with just seconds remaining, Gallatin County forced overtime and won.
Not including Tuesday night’s game with Eminence, the Rebels have a record of 11-6 and are facing last year’s question: What happens now?
Last week, several players expressed their disappointment over the loss at the All “A” Classic. Some players said, however, that Owen County Coach Devin Duvall’s message to the team was they still had important games left on the schedule and to focus on what still lies ahead.
Getting and keeping everyone healthy over the next few weeks will be key for Duvall and the rest of team.
Owen County has seven games remaining on the schedule. They have two with Walton-Verona and games with Williamstown, Grant County, South Oldham, Oldham County and Trimble County.
Two of those teams – Walton-Verona and South Oldham – have two of the best records in the 8th Region. The Bearcats entered the week with a record of 12-6 and fresh off capturing the 8th Region All “A” Championship. The Dragons came into this week 15-5.
The Rebels have wins this season against Williamstown, Grant County and Trimble County.
The next few weeks should be a good indicator of where the Rebels stand as they get ready for the 31st District Tournament in February. Then again, it’s sometimes hard to judge a book by its cover.
Just remember 2009.