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Going into the final week of the regular season, the Rebels had two goals.
The first was to get some momentum heading into the 31st District Tournament and the other was to finish with the best record in the North Central Kentucky Conference. After a resounding win Thursday night at Trimble County, the Rebels had done both.
The 63-49 win over the Raiders gave Owen County the NCKC Championship and some positive feelings heading in to their game tonight with Gallatin County in 31st District Tournament in Carrollton. This is the second time in three years that the Rebels have claimed the title. The other teams that make up the NCKC include Gallatin County, Carroll County, Trimble County, Henry County, Walton-Verona and Williamstown.
After a shaky first half, the Rebels came out in the second half and according to Owen County Boys Head Basketball Head Coach Devin Duvall the squad “played like I know we can.”
Owen County limited Trimble County to one basket in the third quarter.
Offensively, the Rebels were led by Collin Gamble. The senior knocked down five 3-pointers on his way to scoring 20 points. Drew Marston finished with 14 points and four assists. Michael Colligan did not miss a shot as he went five for five from the field and scored 14 points. He also grabbed seven rebounds. After missing most of the season with an ankle injury, junior Lucas Shelton saw his first varsity action of the season. He made the most of it with five points and six rebounds.
The week did not begin quite as smoothly as Owen County traveled to take on Walton-Verona.
The Rebels were looking to defeat the Bearcats for the third time this season. The Bearcats were coming off a win over Gallatin County.
The Bearcats led for most of the first half. A Stone Osborne basket tied the game at 15-15 with 1:15 left in the first half. Jordan Ponzer scored right before the buzzer to give Walton-Verona a 17-15 lead at halftime.
Both teams stepped up their level of play in the third quarter.
The Bearcats eventually extended their advantage to 27-19 when Ponzer connected from 3-point range with 4:20 left in the third quarter. The Rebels battled back and ended the quarter by outscoring the Bearcats 12-5 over the next four minutes to cut the deficit to 32-31 heading into the final eight minutes.
The fourth quarter was tight throughout. Over the final quarter, the Rebels tied the game on five different occasions. Each time the Bearcats answered with a basket to retake the advantage. Owen County was never able to take the lead.
The Bearcats took the lead for good when Ponzer buried a 3-pointer with 90 seconds to play, giving the home team a 47-44 lead.
Gamble scored a few seconds later to make the score 47-46 but Walton-Verona answered when Cameron Burns scored from close range to put the Bearcats back on top by three with less than a minute left.
The Rebels turned the ball over on their next possession and the Bearcats made their free throws in the final seconds to come away with the 53-48 win.
Jordan Shelton led the Rebels with 16 points and 17 rebounds. It was his third straight double-double. Marston had 10 points and eight rebounds. Gamble finished with nine points while Colligan had eight. Osborne came off the bench to add five points.
Maybe the biggest stat of the night was the fact that the Rebels did not make a 3-point shot in the game.
The Rebels have spent the last few days preparing for their 31st District opener tonight against Gallatin County. Game-time is 6 p.m.
The Wildcats defeated the Rebels the last two years in the district tournament. The stakes are high tonight with the winner advancing to the 8th Region Tournament.