Tip-off time: Lady Rebels look to continue domination

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By Brian Blair

If one was looking for a single word to describe the last five years of Owen County Lady Rebels basketball it would have to be ‘dominant.’
Over the last five seasons, the team has amassed 102 wins and five straight 31st District championships. In those championship games, they have won by an average of nearly 13 points. The closest game was a double overtime contest in 2009 in which they won 38-30 over Carroll County. That year was also the last time Owen County lost a game against 31st District competition. Since then they have run off 25 district wins in a row.
The Lady Rebels will enter the 2012-13 season after finishing 24-7 a year ago.
Owen County won those games by an average of 26 points and only lost back-to-back games once. The team reached the championship game of the Eighth Region All ‘A’ Classic. They easily won the 31st District championship 61-38 over Gallatin County. Owen County then defeated Oldham County in the quarterfinals of the Eighth Region Tournament before ending the season with a loss to Walton-Verona in the semifinals.
Much like the boys, the Lady Rebels will have to figure out a way to replace a lot of production from last season.
Rianna Gayheart has taken her talents to Northern Kentucky University where she became the first Lady Rebel to play Division I basketball. Along with her goes 17.3 points a game and the teams’ leading 3-point shooter.
Her absence doesn’t leave the cupboard bare.
Owen County High School Head Girls Basketball Coach Bob Osborne has a talented group of players returning who hope to keep the program rolling.
Three of those players are seniors Hannah Neeley, Courtney Waldrop and Madison Gamble.
Neeley averaged 12.7 points and a game and was the second leading 3-point shooter from last year.
Waldrop averaged 8.9 points and 6.1 rebounds while Gamble scored 6.3 points and pulled down 5.4 boards.
Also returning are sophomores Kennedi Dermon and Shelby Gambrell. Both players averaged four points a game a season ago. Dermon also grabbed four rebounds a contest.
The Lady Rebels will open the season Nov. 27 at Shelby County. They will play their first home game Nov. 29 against Williamstown.
The rest of the early portion of the schedule is no picnic. The team has early games against North Bullitt and Walton-Verona. The Lady Eagles won 22 games last year including the 23rd District championship. The Lady Bearcats won 29 games a season ago including both the Eighth Region All ‘A’ Classic and the Eighth Region Tournament.
Owen County will begin district play Dec. 7 against Carroll County.
The Lady Rebels are sure to get some stiff competition for the 31st District title from Gallatin County. The Lady Wildcats finished 22-9 last year under the direction of Holly Roberts. They have a talented group back that includes junior Brooke Dossett who averaged 16.5 points a contest. Sophomore Hannah Dossett added 14.3 points and 5.7 rebounds a game. Roberts should also get some production from senior Mikkah Hignite who scored 9.2 points a game last year to go along with 5.2 rebounds. Gallatin County is hoping to get back to the 31st District title game where they have been the last two seasons.
No one else in the district had a winning record last season.
Carroll County finished 6-21 a year ago. They finished the season by losing to Gallatin County in the semifinals of the 31st District Tournament. The top returner for the Lady Panthers is Makena Kindoll, who scored just over six points a game. Sophomore Teresa Garrett finished last year averaging 5.5 points a game. The Lady Panthers will be under the direction of first-year coach Paul Stone.
Henry County will once again be under the tutelage of Todd Gilley. The Lady Wildcats finished last season 12-16 including a 41-33 loss to Owen County in the 31st District semifinals. Henry County is the last team to beat the Lady Rebels in a 31st District contest. The win came on Dec. 18, 2009, when the Lady Wildcats won 51-49 in Owenton. The two teams will meet this year on Dec. 14 in New Castle.
Eminence is coached by Bill Covington and are hoping to improve on a 7-20 campaign last year. The Lady Warriors lost to Henry County in the opening round of the 31st District Tournament.