FRANKFORT — The girls' Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic is guaranteed a first-time champion after Covington Holy Cross and Murray broke through and won their semifinal games Saturday.
Holy Cross, which lost in the final four in 1997, 1999 and 2005, beat Owensboro Catholic 49-37.
Murray, which lost in its only other appearance in the semifinals in 2010, rallied to beat Gallatin County 66-55.
Murray (22-2) and Holy Cross (19-3), rated 1-2 in the tournament, will meet in Sunday's finals at 12:30 in the Frankfort Convention Center.
"Right now it's surreal," Murray Coach Rechelle Turner said. "This is the furthest we've ever gone. Just to give these kids a chance to play for a state championship, as a coach you couldn't ask for anything more."
Covington Holy Cross senior Deja Turner, who led her team with 13 points, said getting to the title game "is amazing. But we're not finished. It's a great experience and we've worked hard for it, but it's not over yet."
Holy Cross 49, Owensboro Catholic 37: The Indians had a tough time shaking free of Owensboro Catholic, but they finally did by finishing the game on a 9-0 run.
Turner, a 5-foot-8 senior who has totaled 52 points in three games this week, was her usual steady self on both ends of the floor.
"She's super efficient defensively and offensively," Coach Kes Murphy said. "She's a great leader. She's been phenomenal this year."
Turner got plenty of help from Aleah Tucker (10 points, seven rebounds), Abby Hassert (10 points, five rebounds) and Dajah McLendon (six points, five assists).
Owensboro Catholic, which won this tournament in 2013 and 2011, pulled to within 40-37 with 1:10 left. But Holy Cross didn't get rattled. It scored the last nine points of the game, including 7-for-8 free-throw shooting.
"We had a couple lapses, but we've been in tough situations before," Turner said.
Mikayla Berry's 13 points led Owensboro Catholic.
Murray 66, Gallatin County 55: Murray looked like it was on the ropes when it trailed 46-41, and 6-foot-2 sophomore Maddie Waldrop, its leading scorer, fouled out with six minutes left. Instead, the Tigers came roaring back.
"I think it really fired the kids up when she went out," Rechelle Turner said. "They just told her there was no way they weren't going to get her to tomorrow."
Elizabeth Grogan hit two three-pointers to spark a 10-0 run by Murray, and Gallatin County didn't recover.
"Two of the biggest shots the kid's ever made in her life," Turner said. "Those were back-to-back daggers that really got us going."
Alexis Burpo led the Tigers with 16 points, 11 in the second half. Macey Turley had 14 points, six assists and five steals. Grogan had 12 points.
Waldrop finished with eight points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Hannah Dossett led Gallatin County with 24 points and seven rebounds.
Dossett torched Murray for 11 points in the opening minutes of the third quarter before the Tigers put a chaser on her. Lily Ramey and Kayleigh House took turns shadowing her.
"Those are our two toughest kids," Turner said. "They'll fight you every step of the way."
Danielle Wesley had 18 points for the Wildcats. Autumn Bowen added five points, six assists and four rebounds.
COVINGTON Holy Cross 49, Owensboro Catholic 37
COVINGTON Holy Cross (19-3) — Turner 13, McClendon 6, Hassert 10, Tucker 10, A.Mayhaus 3, C.Mayhaus 2, Beal 5.
Owensboro Catholic (16-7) — Berry 13, Payne 3, Booth 3, Moore 5, Wilson 9, Hayden 4.
Covington Holy Cross 10 8 16 15—49
Owensboro Catholic 4 9 13 11—37
Murray 66, Gallatin Co. 55
Gallatin County (15-7) — Sullivan 6, Wesley 18, Dossett 24, Bowen 5, Terrell 2.
Murray (22-2) — Turley 14, Burpo 16, Waldrop 8, Ramey 9, Grogan 12, Clark 5, Mayes 2.
Gallatin County 12 8 20 15—55
Murray 14 13 10 29—66