Henderson County’s 2nd Region title came at a great cost with its leading scorer, senior forward Alisha Owens, suffering an ACL injury, knocking her out of this week’s St. Elizabeth Healthcare/KHSAA Sweet Sixteen.
Without Owens’ steady presence in the post, Knott County Central dominated the boards early and looked as if it would pull away from the weakened Lady Colonels, taking a 37-32 lead midway through the third quarter.
But Henderson County (28-5), behind 18 points each from sophomore Alyssa Dickson and freshman Emilee Hope, found its rhythm and stepped up its defensive pressure, going on a 17-2 run in the last four minutes of the third and cruising to a 63-53 opening round win over the Patriots.
“When you start making shots, your defense gets a little better,” Henderson County Coach Jeff Haile said.
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Knott Central (28-7) committed 27 turnovers in the game to Henderson County’s 10 and committed four of those amid a five field goal, third period drought.
“It was two games. One in the first half and one in the second half,” Haile said. “We got outrebounded big time in the first half. We were down a little bit and it took a little time to figure out things on offense.”
Knott Central placed four players in double figures, led by Allie O’Hair, Jada Higgins and Alexis Slone with 12 points each.
Simon Kenton runs away from Paintsville in second half
Behind 29 points from Allyson Neace No. 7 Simon Kenton slammed the door on Paintsville in the second half, dropping the Tigers 70-45 on Thursday night to advance to the quarterfinals.
The score was knotted at 26-26 at halftime, but the Pioneers outscored Paintsville 44-19 the rest of the way. Neace hit 8 of 14 field goals and 13 of 14 free throws, adding six assists and six rebounds. Madi Meier contributed a double-double with 10 points on 5 of 6 shooting and 10 rebounds.
Simon Kenton dominated in the post, outrebounding the Tigers 33-17 and scoring 38 points in the paint. Elizabeth Williams led Paintsville with 12 points.
Simon Kenton will face No. 8 Franklin County at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.
Holmes shoots past Grayson County
No. 15 Holmes jumped out to an 8-0 lead less than three minutes into the game and never looked back, knocking off Grayson County 45-32 to set up a quarterfinal matchup Friday with Henderson County.
Grace White knocked down a jumper to get Grayson within 17-14 at halftime, but Holmes went on a 13-2 third-quarter run to put the Cougars away. Laila Johnson scored six of her game-high 14 points for the Bulldogs during that critical stretch. Johnson hit 5 of 6 shots from the field. Holmes shot 48 percent as a team while holding Grayson County to 31 percent shooting, including a 1-for-16 clip from the perimeter. White led Grayson County with a game-high 16 points and nine rebounds.
Clark County tops Harlan on Wednesday
In Wednesday’s late first-round matchup, Clark County knocked off Harlan 81-63 behind Shemaya Behanan’s 25 point, nine rebound performance. Maleaha Bell, Hayley Harrison and Jasmine Flowers added 16 points each for the Cardinals, who shot 55 percent from the field.
Jordan Brock lit up the scoreboard for the Green Dragons in the loss, dropping 38 points. Clark County faces No. 2 Mercer County in Friday’s second quarterfinal matchup.