BOWLING GREEN — Manual showed why it's the No. 1 team in Dave Cantrall's Rating the State Thursday by dismantling Montgomery County 71-33 in the quarterfinals of the Houchens Industries/KHSAA Girls' State Basketball Tournament.
Twelve players scored for the Lady Crimsons (35-2), who will face Paul Laurence Dunbar in Saturday's 11 a.m. EST semifinals in E.A. Diddle Arena.
Kara Wright led the point parade with 13, one more than LeAsia Wright. April Wilson, named earlier in the day as one of five finalists for Miss Basketball, totaled 10 points, five assists, three steals and two rebounds in 19 minutes.
She triggered the offensive breakthrough that Coach Stacy Pendleton was looking for.
"She played like Miss Basketball the first few minutes and got her teammates and herself going," he said.
Manual shot 27-for-57 (47.4 percent) and held Montgomery to 13-for-44 (29.5 percent). The Crimsons finished with a 36-12 advantage with points in the paint, 34-8 off turnovers, 20-0 with second-chance points and 26-5 off the bench.
Manual thus reached the Final Four for the third time in five years.
"They're very, very quick," Pendleton said of Dunbar. "They play a whole lot like we do, so it'll probably be fun. I know they like to run. Hopefully we can keep up with them."
Montgomery (29-7) got eight points from Erica Rogers. Keria Lockett and Macie Spence scored seven each.
Spence, the Lady Indians' representative on the All-Tournament team, also had five rebounds and three assists. The Indians scored the first five points of the game.
"With a team like Manual, we kind of had to pick an area we thought we could get a little bit lucky in, so we started the game trying to back up a little bit and see if they'd miss some outside shots," Coach Janie Robinson said. "Early on, it did work — for about three minutes. Definitely the highlight of the day. Once they got the lead, we knew that that was going to be pretty tough because it's a team we can't press or trap."
Trailing 35-21 at halftime, Montgomery was held to seven points in the third quarter, all by Lockett.
Robinson said she then had a different type of problem in the fourth quarter: "Once they knew we probably were not going to win, everybody got so emotional on the bench that it was hard to get people to finish the game because they are very close."
Marion County 67, Hopkinsville 30: Makayla Epps and Patrice Tonge scored 18 points apiece, and Bre Elder added 12 to lead Marion County's easy win.
The Lady Knights (33-4) finished the first half on a 10-0 run, and the rout was on from there. They led by as many as 40 points, doubling Hopkinsville's score with more than seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Hopkinsville (32-5) went scoreless for the fourth quarter's opening six minutes and shot 11-for-54 (20.4 percent) for the game — no match for Marion County's 26-for-48 (54.2 percent) clip.
Christy Soldo scored 10 points to lead the Lady Tigers, who were playing in their first state tournament.
The Lady Knights are riding a 14-game winning streak into their semifinal matchup Saturday, when a win would give Marion County a shot at winning its first state title.
Lincoln County 73, Magoffin County 59: Lincoln County nailed down the last spot in the Final Four, and the Lady Patriots (26-9) will meet Marion County in Saturday's semifinals. Emily Fox led the winners with 23 points. Sydney Harris added 12 points and nine rebounds.
Magoffin (29-5) was topped by eighth-grader Jazzy Howard with 21 points. Jamie Castle scored 18.
Lincoln led by as many as 10 points in the first quarter, but Magoffin pulled to within four, 33-29, at halftime.
The lead was 40-36 when Magoffin's leading scorer, Castle (15.2 ppg), had her shot blocked by Rachel Spangler. Castle hit the floor hard and injured her right ankle or foot in the fall. She was carried off the court by Coach Steve Miller.
Castle, named to the all-tourney team, returned in short spurts but was hobbled and did not score again, and the Hornets fully recovered.
■ At halftime of the nightcap, Magoffin County received a check for $2,000 to help in the recovery effort from last week's storm damage. The money was raised "through the efforts of fans and supporters of Lincoln County High School, with a huge assist from the great fans and supporters of Marion County," according to a KHSAA news release.
The check was presented to Tony Skaggs, principal of Magoffin County.