Powell’s Ashley King (1) took the front guarding approach, while her teammate Dakota Brown stood behind Owsley’s top scorer Macie Gibson. The strategy worked as Powell held Gibson to just 12 points and the Lady Pirates upset the top seeded Lady Ohs 50-42 in the first round of the 56th District Girls Tournament in Lee County Monday Night. Powell will play Lee tonight (Feb. 22) in the championship game at 7 p.m.
Photo by Sonya Dennis King
They say it is hard to beat a team three times in a season, even if you seemed to have won easily in the previously two meetings. If you do not believe that old saying, just ask the Owsley County Lady Owls.
They had beaten the Powell County Lady Pirates 64-55 and 69-55 during the season. They were the top seed in the 56th District Girl’s Tournament and they had Miss Basketball Candidate Macie Gibson. The odds seemed to be in their favor.
Someone forgot to tell the Lady Pirates.
Using a tenacious defense that shut down Gibson, an offense that moved the ball well and a team effort, Powell pulled of the upset. The Lady Pirates, despite being outshot from the field, having a scary free three shooting night and despite being out rebounded, toppled the favorites 50-42 in the first round of the tournament.
By the way, the winning streak is now six in a row.
Powell’s game plan looked simple from the beginning. Just put a lot of pressure on Gibson, who recently scored her 3,000th point in her career, and keep the other Lady Owls in check. Meanwhile Powell had to maintain ball control and force the favorites to become frustrated and foul happy. The plan worked.
Gibson was guarded from behind all night by one of Powell’s big players in Dakota Brown and Macey Howell. But her biggest problem was Ashley King. King stuck with Gibson like glue and picked up three steals along the way. King became a nuisance to Gibson and her Owsley teammates.
And don’t forget Alisha Elam who seemed to be everywhere on defense, picking up six steals. Howell crashed the boards, grabbing 12 rebounds and Brown picked up nine. Just these stats alone seemed to favor an easy win. But that was not the case.
Powell was out shot from the field 35 percent (13-37) to 30 percent (13-42). They were 0-for-9 from behind the arc, while Owsley nailed 4-of-15 (26 percent). The charity stripe was a scary stat as well. Powell hit 50 percent (24-48) with several misses in the fourth quarter. Owsley hit 75 percent (12-16). But determination and key plays at key moments helped to make the outcome more to the Lady Pirates liking.
Owsley jumped out to a 12-10 led, but Powell stays with their counterparts throughout the first half. Both teams struggled in the second quarter, each scoring five points a piece. The halftime score had the Lady Owls ahead, 17-15.
The Lady Pirates kept on battling, with the defense taking it’s toll on Owsley and the game becoming a little more physical he fouls began to pile up. By the time the game ended Owlsey had two players foul out and five others with four fouls.
Powell managed to tie the game at 27 as the game entered the final frame. The quarter was a battle. It was so intense that after a outback basket by Brown, then a steal by Elam led to a basket by King, giving the lady Pirate a five point lead, the Owsley bench got a little too upset. Two technicals were called on a Lady Owls assistant coach, who was ejected. King hit two of the four free throws due to the technical and Powell enjoyed a 37-30 lead.
Powell would increase the lead to nine on a shot by King, only to see Owsley try to mount a comeback. But they decided to try the three point catch up game, and missed a few attempts. However, Owsley did manage to pull to within three at 39-36. Powell was able to grab the missed shots and the Lady Owls were forced to foul.
Elam was the target of most of the fouls and was good for at least one of the two shots awarded as Powell was in the double bonus. Elam went to the line 21 times in the game, hitting eight. But her made free throws down the stretch kept Powell ahead. King hit six of her 10 free throws to help as well. Emily Branham came of the bench and hit a couple key shots.
Owsley had to realize in the final minutes that their run was about to be over. They would pulled back to within three or four points on a couple of occasions, only to see the Lady Pirates get steals, rebounds and hit shots when needed to extend their lead. When the final horn sounded Powell had pulled off the upset, 50-42.
Powell was led by Brown and King, each pouring in 14 points. Howell tossed in 11 points to go with her dozen boards. Elam chipped in eight, while Branham had three points. Powell improved to 16-11.
Owsley ended their season at 20-8. They were led by Gibson, one of the region’s top scoring threats, who was held to 12 points. Lexie Lynch added 10 to the cause.
Powell advances to the 56th District Girl’s Championship Game which is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. tonight (Feb. 22). They will play the second seeded Lee County Lady Kats. Lee is led by another Miss Basketball Candidate in Hannah Kash, beat Estill in the first round, 68-48.. Lee beat Powell 67-47, but Powell beat Lee 46-45 early in the season. The rubber match will determine who is the district champion. Both teams will also advance to next week’s 14th Region’s Girls Tournament at Perry Central.
If the first round was any indication, it may not be wise for Lee to underestimate the Lady Pirates. Powell seems to have the sails set right and look to capture a title and keep the streak alive. The stage is set for hopefully another good game and a Powell win.