Owensboro Catholic defeated Johnson Central, 56-46, in the first round of the 57th St. Elizabeth Healtcare/KHSAA Girls’ Sweet Sixteen state basketball tournament Wednesday at Northern Kentucky University’s BB&T Arena.
Hannah McCay, a six-foot sophomore who averaged 10.2 points and 5.2 rebounds heading into the tournament, led the Aces with a game-high 23 points on 11-for-15 shooting. She finished 10 rebounds, also a game high.
Kelci Blair, a freshman, led Johnson Central with 11 points.
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The Aces will play either Mercer County or Murray in the quarterfinals of the state tournament. Owensboro Catholic has never won a game after the first round of the state tournament.
OCath hasn’t played Mercer County this season but lost at Murray, 91-73, on Feb. 10. The Tigers were 16 of 30 from behind the three-point line in that contest.
“One thing that both those teams do is they shoot the three really well,” Catholic Coach Michael Robertson said. “ ... Normally if we score 73 points I feel pretty good but they were on fire that night. We’ll have our hands full with either one of those teams.”
McCay scored all 23 of her points following the first quarter, after which the Aces trailed Johnson Central, 14-8. The Aces were 1-for-9 from the field in the first quarter but improved to 8-for-13 in the second; the Golden Eagles shot 6-for-9 in the opening period before going 1-for-9 in the next quarter. Catholic won the quarter 20-5.
Johnson Central was whistled for 16 fouls, 13 coming in the first half. Catholic had 11 fouls called against it.
“We just relaxed,” Robertson said of the rally. “And they had foul trouble so we decided, with their ball handlers not being in the game, we were gonna extend the pressure and try to get after it.”