Owen County proves too much for Ladycats

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By Tommie Kendall

The Henry County Ladycats bowed out of the 31st District tournament in the opening round last Tuesday night, but they got crucial experience with all of their players coming back minus senior Jean-Anne Moore. Owen County, who hosted the tournament, jumped out to an 11-3 lead after the first quarter and pulled away to a convincing 56-36 win.

"It's hard to explain to your players a game like the district tournament until they go through it, so we got some players to play under those circumstances and that's a plus," Henry coach Todd Gilley said. "That's a situation you can't simulate. Overall, we weren't happy with the way we played, especially in the first half. I thought Owen played very well and took good shots."

Moore scored the first basket of the game for Henry on a free throw, but Owen took the lead after a jumper at the other end and never trailed for the rest of the contest. Owen took a double-digit lead, 13-3, with 7:05 left in the second quarter, and went ahead by 20 points, 28-8, with 30 seconds remaining in the same quarter. Jessica Booher's three-point basket at the buzzer cut Henry's deficit to 17 points, 30-13, at the break.

Brittany Crawford, who didn't start for the Ladycats but came off the bench to give them a spark, scored four quick points to start the third quarter. Henry eventually cut Owen's lead to single digits, 36-27, following another Booher three-pointer at the 2:40 mark in the third period.

Heading into the fourth quarter, Owen was in front 40-29.

The Ladycats' defensive pressure and accurate shooting allowed them to win the third, 16-10. But during the fourth quarter, Owen used 6-0 and 8-0 runs to push its advantage back out to 20 points, 55-35. And then came away with the 20-point win.

The leading scorers for Henry were Booher (12 points), Mings (9) and Crawford (7).

With the loss, Henry (8-19, 5-14 region, 2-5 district) ended its season in the opening round of the district tournament, while Owen (18-9, 12-8, 5-2) won the district title with a 49-39 win over Carroll County three days later.

Henry will be without the inside presence of Moore when the Ladycats take to the court again, but with the experience the younger players gained this season, even in the Gallatin loss, they should only go up from here.

Jean-Anne (Moore) has come a long way in a few years, Gilley said of the senior center, who didnt play much as a freshman and was injured during both her sophomore and junior seasons. In the short amount of time she actually got to play, she has really improved and was a big presence for us inside because she was a good defender and rebounder, and could help us scoring, too. She will be missed and we appreciate the effort she's given us."

So who will replace Moore?

"We won't have someone step in to replace Jean-Anne, but we have a number of players that bring different things to the table," Gilley explained. "I see us with a lot of combinations next year, with maybe eight different players that will be in the starting rotation for us."

The Ladycats eight wins this season have come against Model (48-38), Gallatin County (55-53), Owen County (42-36), Eminence twice (46-9 and 69-16), Kentucky Country Day (37-35), Beechwood (58-29) and Grant County (50-39). They went through a stretch a few weeks ago of winning five of seven games.

"We took some big leaps in January and February - maybe we peaked about two weeks too early," Gilley said. "We have a lot coming back next year, and hopefully we'll be ready to go."

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