The Henry County Wildcats' downward skid of losses stretched to six straight Friday night against Owen County, but the Cats were just a few plays away from being in the win column for the first time since they defeated East Jessamine the day after Christmas.
Instead, they took a 57-51 overtime loss.
Henry (4-10 overall record) fell behind 8-0 early, and was trailing Owen (10-7) 18-5 after the first quarter and 26-21 at the half. But the Wildcats clawed their way back in to the game, and with just 7.5 seconds left, senior Cari Dunaway drained a three-pointer to tie the game at 48. Owen then threw the ball away, Henry couldn't convert at the other end and the game went into overtime to decide the outcome.
In the extra period, Owen scored on a quick layup and knocked down two free throws to go ahead by four points. For Henry, Brad Taylor knocked down a free throw and Joey Pollard found Cody Hinkle inside for two but that was all the overtime points the Owen Rebels allowed as they held on for the six-point win.
Owen knocked down five crucial free throws in the final 55 seconds.
Early in the district matchup, it was all Owen. The Rebels jumped out to an 8-0 lead just two minutes into the game, and Henry didn't score until Steven Tillett connected on a three-pointer at the top of the key with 4:02 left in the opening quarter. The only other Henry basket during the first came when Hinkle scored inside with 1:08 on the clock.
During the second quarter, Taylor knocked down a three-pointer, Tillett hit two free throws and another three, and Tillett found an in-motion Hinkle inside to close Henry's deficit to 22-14 with 3:40 until the half. Henry continued to chip away at Owen, who took a five-point advantage into the locker room.
Owen pushed its lead to 11 points, 39-28, during the third quarter in the see-saw contest before Henry sliced it to single digits with a Dunaway three-pointer. Ben Roberts then knocked down a three-pointer, and Pollard stole the ball and took it the length of the court for an uncontested layup to end the quarter with just a four-point difference, 39-35.
Following a Pollard free throw and three-point play during the fourth quarter, Owen went on a run to stretch its lead to 47-39 with 2:10 remaining. Pollard then knocked down a three-pointer, Owen hit a free throw and Tillett hit two at the other end to close the gap to 48-45.
With 19.9 seconds left, Owen was fouled but missed both free throws, giving Henry a chance to pull within one point or tie the game with a three. The Wildcats chose the later as Dunaway swished a three from the wing, which sent the game into overtime.
Owen, who never gave up the lead, pulled away to a six-point lead during the OT.
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