FRANKFORT — Neither Newport Central Catholic's Nicole Kiernan nor Owensboro Catholic's Becca Greenwell found their usual space to score Saturday.
Both players advanced with their teams into the girls' finals of the All "A" Classic at the Frankfort Convention Center.
Kiernan, held to eight points, snatched 19 rebounds to help NewCath to a 63-37 rout of Bishop Brossart.
Miss Basketball candidate Greenwell finished nine points below her average, totaling 19 points and seven rebounds in Owensboro Catholic's 73-60 victory over Gallatin County.
So it will be NewCath vs. Owensboro Catholic in Sunday's title game. NewCath fell to Walton-Verona in overtime in last year's finals.
Owensboro Catholic's Michael Robertson, coaching in the absence of Ray Zuberer — whom Robertson said is no longer with the team for undisclosed reasons — says he expects "a battle."
"They've got (No.) 24, Kiernan; she's going to be tough for us inside," Robertson said. "We're going to have to be able to handle her. The last two games, at least, we haven't had to face an inside presence."
Kiernan, a 5-foot-10 junior, was scoreless in the first half against Brossart, but played big on the boards.
Trailing 7-2 early, NewCath (18-4) scored the next 12 points to lead 14-7 early in the second quarter, then steadily pulled away.
"You just have to trust your teammates, but I was very frustrated," Kiernan said of facing a triangle-and-two defense to start and a box-and-one soon after. "I just had a lot of people on me. I couldn't really do much."
In addition to Kiernan, Bishop Brossart (18-5) tried to keep 5-foot-8 sophomore Alexus Mayes under wraps.
"It was frustrating," Mayes said, "because it makes it harder for us to score. ... So, good that they laid off of (the rest of) our team because we had plenty of teammates to come in and make up for them trying to double-team us."
Mayes scored 17 points. Stephanie Lewis added 14.
The Thoroughbreds dominated second-chance points 18-0, shooting 21-for-57 (36.8 percent) from the field and grabbing 47 rebounds.
Brossart, 15-for-55 (27.3 percent) and with 37 rebounds, was led by Sarah Futscher with 13 points.
"They shot the ball well," Lady 'Stangs Coach Josh Feldmann said of NewCath. "When you have people inside with the talent of Miss Mayes and Miss Kiernan, you almost have to pick your poison on what you're going to try to do. We tried to take those two away. ... You leave their shooters open."
The second semifinal saw Greenwell held to eight first-half points, Owensboro Catholic clinging to a 30-25 lead.
The Aces (15-5) used a 12-3 run to open the second half and a 12-0 run to close the third quarter to build a 54-32 lead. Game, set and match.
Kaylyn Pearson, a 5-9 junior, led the Aces with 24 points, most from close range, and eight rebounds.
"I don't know if she was just that much stronger than us or getting better position," Gallatin Coach Holly Roberts said, "but we had a lot of trouble getting her off the block."
In addition to Greenwell, Owensboro Catholic got 13 points and eight boards from Destiny Howard.
Sisters Hannah and Brooke Dossett paced the Wildcats (19-3). Hannah, a sophomore, hit four three-pointers and finished with 25 points and six rebounds. Brooke, a junior, sank three treys and had 19 points.
Greenwell, a 6-1 senior, finished 5-for-13 from the floor, 3-for-6 from long range.
"It was really frustrating the first half," Greenwell said. "They did a really good box-and-one on me. But the second half I kind of calmed down. I just kind of tried to play more of a decoy and tried to distribute the ball well. And I thought Kaylyn did a good job with that, scoring a lot of layups off of that."
Newport Central Catholic 63 Bishop Brossart 37
NEWPORT CATHOLIC (18-4) — Ware 4, Lewis 14, Kiernan 8, Mayes 17, Zimmerman 3, Davenport 9, Neace 3, Lohr 2, Schack 3. Totals 21-57 13-21 63.
BISHOP BROSSART (18-5) — Hartig 0, Stadtmiller 8, Futscher 13, Young 3, Greis 0, Buckingham 3, Eisenman 8, King 2, Verst 0, Kues 0. Totals 15-55 3-9 37.
Newport Cent. Catholic 10 14 19 20—63
Bishop Brossart 7 7 11 12—37
Owensboro Catholic 73 Gallatin Co. 60
OWENSBORO CATHOLIC (15-5) — Berry 6, Greathouse 9, Pearson 24, Greenwell 19, Howard 13, Garvin 2. Totals 26-49 18-23 73.
GALLATIN CO. (19-3) — H. Dossett 25, Hignite 7, B. Dossett 19, Satchwell 4, Bowen 4, Wesley 1. Totals 24-52 4-8 60.
Owensboro Catholic 15 15 24 19—73
Gallatin Co. 13 12 10 25—60
12:30 p.m. — Newport Catholic (18-4) vs. Owensboro Catholic (15-5)
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229 Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com