Holy Cross avenges loss to Owen County, heads to All “A” semis

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Holy Cross girls basketball coach Ted Arlinghaus put last year’s score up on the white board in the pregame discussion prior to their All “A” state tournament quarterfinal contest with Owen County.

He wanted his Holy Cross (19-5) team to remember how close they were in last season’s All “A” state tournament, a one-point loss in the semifinals to the Rebels (14-7).

“I think that’s been on everybody’s minds. We really felt like we let one go by last year. We thought we had what it took to win and we just didn’t, Owen County made one more play than us. So on the whiteboard I put up the final score just to remind them. Just something to get them going,” Holy Cross coach Ted Arlinghuas said.

The Indians got their revenge on Friday as they made things tough on the Rebels all morning with an 8:30 a.m. start in a 61-31 victory.

Holy Cross forced 28 turnovers and turned that into 26 points while committing just eight turnovers that turned into five Owen County points.

“We’ve been preaching to the girls all season…defense, defense, defense,” Arlinghaus said. “Last year we felt like we were able to defend, but in a different way, not really turning people over so we played more of a grinded out style game. We wanted to be able to play differently this year especially with how deep we are and want to utilize our depth. Full court press, half court trap, whatever it is, flying around, we want to use that to our advantage and specifically today against Owen County that doesn’t particularly go very deep.”

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Holy Cross forward Nejai Lewis led Holy Cross with 13 points. Photo provided | Bob Jackson

The hounding, trapping, pressure defense was there all game. At times Owen County struggled to even get the ball past halfcourt. With the two tied at 11 after one and the Rebels trailing 17-16 after five straight points, Rachel Howard’s layup was their last made field goal for a while.

The Indians locked in and went on a 12-0 run to end the first half over the last five minutes and that was without junior Julia Hunt on the bench with foul trouble, who made things tough early with three blocked shots.

“We were actually not only able to hold the lead, we extended it with Julia out. Kudos to our kids that came in off the bench and they didn’t let the moment get to them,” Arlinghaus said.

The stinginess continued into the third, Holy Cross holding Owen County without a field goal in the frame and outscoring the Rebels 14-3 to extend their lead to 43-19. Nejai Lewis led the Indians with 13 points, Miyah Wimzie adding 11 as 10 different Indians entered the scoring column.

Holy Cross remained hot from 3-point land, on Wednesday they hit 12-of-19 three-pointers in a victory over Leslie County, they followed that up with a 7-of-14 performance from deep on Friday. Sarah Bottom led the way from distance, hitting 3-of-5 attempts.

Holy Cross coach Ted Arlinghaus has the Indians in the All “A” state semifinals for the second straight season. Photo provided | Bob Jackson

“Making 12 on Wednesday is not typically who we are. Making five to seven is right where we’re about at. We don’t necessarily want to shoot a bunch of threes but that comes throughout the course of the game. Everybody knows we like to go inside with two dominant posts and we play through them. With them sagging off shooters today, we had to make jump shots and Sarah Bottom came in there in the second and hit those two threes and that really opened things up for us,” Arlinghaus said.

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Owen County won the rebounding battle 35-23, but a lot of that factors into the Indians 46 shot attempts to the Rebels 29. The Rebels didn’t help themselves at the free throw line, hitting just 8-of-20 attempts, Holy Cross hit 12-of-20.

Next up is Pikeville in the semifinals, Pikeville lost to Owen County in the All “A” Championship last season.

OWEN COUNTY — 11-5-3-12 — 31

HOLY CROSS — 11-18-14-18 — 61

Owen County (31) – Howard 12, Logan 8, Webster 4, Steffen 4, Ferguson 3

Holy Cross (61) – Lewis 13, Wimzie 11, Bottom 9, Hunt 7, Nelson 5, McCoy 5, Arlinghaus 4, Rhodes 3, Williams 2, Hayes 2

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