Darren Doyle, story:
Although the Lady Cats battled the heavily favored Owensboro Catholic Lady Aces all the way to the end, they fell 47-45 in the Region 3 All A finals Thursday night in Cloverport.
Edmonson County started off red-hot on an 8-0 run to start the game that had the Lady Aces on their heels and Lady Cat fans on their feet.
"We talked about playing with a lot of heart and being aggressive, and I was really pleased with how our kids started this game," said head coach Kevin Jackson. "That's one sign of maturity, when you can start games with a little more fire and I thought we did that last night."
Owensboro fought back and began to pound the ball in the paint; they utilized their three different players listed at 6'0" or taller which cut their deficit to 13-12 at the end of the first.
A big second quarter from Owensboro C. allowed them to take a 24-18 lead into the locker room at the half.
The Lady Cats came out a bit sluggish in the third as O.C. stretched the lead to 30-20, their largest of the game, prompting Jackson to call a timeout. He said he felt like the moment was a turning point for the remainder of the season.
"I told the girls that the game was about to slip away from us and that if we didn't do something to step up, especially on the defensive end and make something happen, it was going to get away from us. The next thing I knew, it was a one-point ballgame."
Out of the timeout, Edmonson County went on a 9-0 run to cut the Lady Ace lead to 30-29. Simon scored all nine of those points. Owensboro scored on another basket in the paint to stretch their lead to 3 but Caitlin Simon hit a huge three-pointer with 1:25 to go in the quarter to tie the score at 32 all.
The Lady Cats went on to grab a 40-35 lead with about three minutes to go but the size and strength of Owensboro in the paint allowed the Lady Aces to crawl back on top as they took a 47-42 lead with only seconds to go. Simon hit another three pointer with only 0.9 left, but it wasn't enough as the Lady Aces went on to win their 17th straight Region 3 All A title.
Simon led the way for the Lady Cats, scoring 23 of her 27 points in the second half. Only one other Lady Cat scored in the entire second half, which was Katlin Collins who added 4 second half points.
Jackson said he had a short conversation with Simon during warm-ups to start the second half.
"I told her she'd been pretty quiet during the first half but I knew that she'd have a tremendous second half, and wow, did she ever have a great second half."
Jackson said he'd hoped that more of the other players could've gotten more involved offensively.
"In the Grayson County games and some others, we won because we had everybody contributing. That's when we're at our best. It's still a team game. We know we're going to win ballgames when everybody contributes."
Jackson said there was no reason to hang their heads as Owensboro Catholic is a very good basketball team and last night's game proved to many people that Edmonson County can be a contender for the KHSAA Region Three Tournament in March.
"We've still got plenty of basketball left," he said. "We've still a third of our season left and we're going to focus on continuing to improve and win games. We still have our eyes on the district and regional tournaments. We'll take off today but there's not a whole lot of time to lick your wounds, so to speak. We're going to move on."
In addition to Simon's 27 points and 7 rebounds, Collins had 6 points and 5 rebounds, Martin had 6 points, 5 assists, and 6 rebounds, and Skylar Lewis added 6 points and 2 rebounds.
The Lady Cats are scheduled to play Cumberland County at home on Saturday at 3pm in a JV/V matchup. There will be no live game broadcast so EC fans are encouraged to attend in person.
Edmonson County is now 14-6 on the season. The boys team is scheduled to take on Owensboro Catholic tonight in Cloverport for the All A boys' final tonight at 6pm. The WildcatsLive pregame show starts at 5:50pm only on EdmonsonVoice.com.