Ebony Rowe and her Paul Dunbar teammates dominated the second half, and the host Lady Bulldogs pulled away to beat Tates Creek 62-41 in the girls' 43rd District opener Monday night.
Rowe, a 6-foot-1 junior, had 22 points, 20 rebounds and four blocked shots as Dunbar advanced to the semifinals, against Lexington Catholic on Wednesday.
Just last week, Tates Creek ended an eight-game, five-year losing streak to Dunbar by beating the Lady Bulldogs 49-38. Lady Bulldogs Coach Mike Sowers said that was "a nice wake-up call" for his team.
"To be honest, I think if we'd won that one it might've been a different story tonight. The kids were still hungry and knew they'd have to play well to win this game."
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The Lady Commodores carried their confidence into Monday's rematch and led 23-22 at halftime.
But things came crashing down on the Lady Commodores after that. They managed only one field goal and three free throws in the first nine minutes of the second half as Dunbar built a 10-point lead.
After making only six turnovers in the first half, Tates Creek had 16 in the second.
And Rowe owned the boards as she collected at least 20 rebounds for the 13th time this season.
"We did a horrendous job boxing out," Tates Creek Coach Justin Cheatham said. "We kept emphasizing it over and over, but we kept losing Rowe in there."
Despite their problems, the Lady Commodores still had a chance when they trailed 39-32 with six minutes left.
But Cheatham saw that his team was rattled when he called them in for a timeout.
"I asked them, 'Why do we have this panicked, defeated look on our face? It's a seven-point game, we're still in it so keep your heads up and keep playing.' But it didn't click."
Christin Haney had 13 points for Dunbar. Erin Lucas had nine, and Shomari Kendrick added seven points and seven rebounds.
Sowers credited his defense for carrying out a game plan that included keeping track of Tates Creek's Betsy Goodin.
"She dropped 23 on us last week and just tore us apart," Sowers said. "So that was one of our focuses tonight."
Goodin had 12 in the rematch. Peyton Hisel, a 6-foot freshman, led Tates Creek with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
"We've just been in so few big games," Cheatham said. "That inexperience showed.
"We just didn't get it done, and Dunbar did."
PAUL DUNBAR 62, TATES CREEK 41
PAUL DUNBAR (21-6) — Rowe 8-19 6-11 22, Mitchell 1-8 0-0 2, E. Lucas 3-9 3-4 9, Ch. Haney 2-6 7-8 13, Co. Haney 2-4 0-2 5, Kendrick 2-5 3-6 7, McIntosh 0-1 0-0 0, Muhammad 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 20-55 9-19 62.
TATES CREEK (17-11) — Goodin 5-12 2-2 12, Hisel 5-15 3-5 13, Olson 2-4 0-0 4, Kreyenbuhl 2-7 1-2 7, Jonas 1-6 1-2 3, Franklin 0-4 2-4 2, Drake 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 15-49 9-15 41.
Paul Dunbar 10 12 15 25—62
Tates Creek 10 13 6 12—41