FRANKFORT — The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
Especially in the girls' small-school version of the state basketball tournament known as the Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic.
Monroe County, the tournament's top team according to Dave Cantrall's Rating the State, was overpowered 61-39 by Walton-Verona in Friday's quarterfinals.
Walton-Verona will meet defending champion Owensboro Catholic in Saturday's semifinals. The first semi in the Frankfort Convention Center, at 10 a.m., will match Bishop Brossart and Newport Central Catholic. Brossart beat NewCath 48-45 in overtime eight days ago.
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No. 16 Walton-Verona 61, No. 4 Monroe Co. 39: Tied at 10 midway through the first quarter, Courtney Sandlin notched the first 11 points of a 13-0 blitz that ignited the Bearcats.
The winners led 27-13 at halftime and by as many as 26 points in the second half.
Sandlin, a 5-foot-11 junior, finished with 20 points. Combined with 6-0 junior Michelle Judy, who scored 11, the Bearcats had too much inside strength for Monroe's 6-1 standout, Caylan Bybee.
Kara Taulbee shot 5-for-7 from three-point range to add 15 points for the winners. Molly Clinkenbeard scored 10.
The Bearcats (17-7) have won their last eight games.
"We're just 50 percent of the way for what we came here for. ... We want to win four. That's our goal," Coach Mark Clinkenbeard said. "These girls have been here. This is the third year in a row, and they've tasted (defeat)."
Bybee and Madison Clements scored nine points each for Monroe (19-3), last year's All "A" runner-up. Bybee also grabbed eight rebounds.
"That's basketball," Coach Dwayne Murray said. "Every game you play is all about matchups, and it was hard for us to match up inside. ... We know they shoot threes so well and, if we played zone, I was afraid they'd jump out on us. They hit 15 threes the other night."
Sandlin, who shot 9-for-12 from the floor, including 1-for-2 from long range, did most of her damage in the paint.
Taulbee, a 5-5 senior, hit back-to-back threes early in the first quarter and again early in the third quarter.
"Kara came out and hit a couple shots ... and then Courtney played an amazing first half," Mark Clinkenbeard said. "I think the kids fed off of that. It was contagious from that point."
Taulbee's first three-pointer increased her career total to 1,000 points.
"I was 'off' at the beginning of the season," she said. "Then I went and just worked and worked and, as the season went along, I just got better."
Murray plans a similar follow-up for his team.
"You've got to look at this as a learning experience and get ready for district and region," he said, "because the season's still going."
Owensboro Catholic 49, Magoffin Co. 46: Mary Kate Clemens and Destiny Howard put up double-doubles to propel the Lady Aces (15-8) to an eighth win in a row.
Clemens, a 6-0 senior, totaled 20 points and 11 rebounds. Howard, a 5-9 freshman, had 12 points and 11 boards.
Leah Greathouse also scored 12.
Magoffin (13-4) was led by Madison Reed with 20 points and six rebounds. Jamie Castle scored 19 points, making all 12 of her free throws.
The Hornets shot 13-for-50 (26 percent) and were outrebounded 42-25.
A 9-0 run in the third quarter put the Aces ahead 31-18.
Magoffin, trailing by 14 with less than four minutes left, pulled to within three points with 30 seconds left.
Catholic is trying to repeat as champ without Becca Greenwell, out for the season because of a knee injury.
"In the past — and everybody knew it — it would be 'just give the ball to Becca,'" Coach Ray Zuberer said. "I'm proud of our girls, that they've expanded their roles on our team. They're playing with confidence and believe they can win without her."
Bishop Brossart 49, Louisville Holy Cross 43: The Lady Stangs (19-3) cashed in on 24 of 36 free throws, while Holy Cross was 8-for-13 at the line.
Sarah Futscher highlighted Brossart's 10th win in a row with 12 points and eight rebounds. Abby Stadtmiller chipped in with 10 points.
The Lady Cougars (18-4) were led by Maya Hardin with 15 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals. Josie Hockman got 10 points.
Brossart led by 11 early in the second half and never let Holy Cross closer than five.
As for the rematch with NewCath, "it's gonna be a bloodbath," Stadtmiller said.
"They're going to come out hard," teammate Rachel Hartig said, "but we will, too."
No. 21 Newport Central Catholic 51, Green Co. 37: Nicole Kiernan notched 22 points, 17 rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks for the Thoroughbreds (13-4).
Kiernan, a 5-10 sophomore, shot 9-for-18 from close range. Aubrey Muench added 10 points.
Green County guard Micach Jones had 24 points, seven rebounds and four steals.
The Dragons (16-6) led 18-14 early in the second half.
NewCath used a 12-0 run to open a 30-20 lead. Green came no closer than seven after that, shut down by NewCath's switch to a zone defense in the fourth quarter.
"They were getting into a little bit of a rhythm, I thought, in the 'man' with Jones," NewCath Coach Ron Dawn said. "I just wanted to change it up a little bit."