Manual made life difficult for Becca Greenwell on Friday night and brought its coach back for one last ride in the process.
The Lady Crimsons (25-8) forced the Owensboro Catholic star to take 27 shots to score 30 points, earning a 78-69 win in the quarterfinals of the Houchens Industries/KHSAA Girls’ Sweet 16 at E.A. Diddle Arena.
Manual, the reigning state champion, will meet Notre Dame at 11:30 a.m. today in the semifinals. The title game is scheduled for 8 p.m. today.
“It means everything,” senior guard Morgan Allen said. “We weren’t expected to do anything this year that we’ve already accomplished, because last year’s team was so great. ... It’s amazing the support we have, and as a team, we’re so unified right now.”
The Lady Crimsons will return the services today of coach Stacy Pendleton, who is retiring after this season but served the final game of a three-game suspension Friday.
Pendleton was suspended after being ejected in the Region 7 Tournament semifinals. Assistant coach Tim Holman has coached the team in his absence. “I’m so proud of these girls, and I’m so ready to hand over the keys to coach P,” Holman said with a grin. “I’ve had enough of this.”
Manual kept Greenwell – a 6-foot-1-inch senior guard who’s signed with Duke – scoreless for most of the first quarter and held her to eight points in the first half on 3-of-11 shooting.
Greenwell missed her first five shots and finished 10 of 27 from the field – including 1 of 8 from 3-point range – with seven turnovers. She netted 9 of 10 free throws and added seven rebounds and three steals.
“I knew what I had to do,” said Manual senior forward Kayla Styles, who drew the defensive assignment on Greenwell. “She gets her points. I just wanted to minimize her. That’s it.”
The Lady Crimsons started the game on a 9-0 run and shot 51.9 percent in the first half to build a 37-28 lead at the break.
With Greenwell struggling, Owensboro Catholic (25-8) got 16 combined points in the first half from senior guard Leah Greathouse and sophomore forward Destiny Howard.
The Lady Aces shot 34.6 percent in the first half but made 9 of 12 free throws.
“In the first half, I don’t know what was wrong with me,” Greenwell said. “I couldn’t hit a single shot. ... Luckily my teammates stepped up in the first half, or we would’ve got killed for my performance.”
Greenwell found ways to score in the second half, and she twice cut the lead to five in the fourth quarter with three-point plays.
But both times, Styles – the ever-present thorn in Greenwell’s side – answered with four straight points to provide a cushion.
Styles finished with 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
“We know Kayla’s going to do her job, because we’ve been through so much and come so far,” Allen said. “We have all the motivation in the world every game, especially when we play stud athletes like that. Kayla comes prepared.”
Greenwell netted a 3-pointer with two minutes left to make it 71-66, but her next attempt from outside was an airball. Allen knocked down her fifth 3 from the corner for the dagger with 1:20 remaining.
Allen finished with 15 points, while Manual senior guard Destony Curry and sophomore forward Aricka Prentice each added 13 points.
Greathouse chipped in 13 points for Owensboro Catholic.
DMHS 19 18 16 25 - 78
OCHS 10 18 17 24 - 69
DMHS - Styles 21, Allen 17, Curry 13, Prentice 13, Mitchell 6, Long 5, McCune 3.
OCHS - Greenwell 30, Greathouse 13, Berry 10, Howard 9, Pearson 7.
Notre Dame 48, Marshall County 39
Senior forward Olivia Voskuhl scored a game-high 20 points with seven rebounds, and the Pandas (28-5) survived a scare from Marshall County to reach their first state semifinal in program history.
“It’s mind-blowing,” Voskuhl said. “There are no words that describe it, because we’re so excited. It couldn’t be a better team.”
Notre Dame led by as many as six points in the first three quarters, opening a 25-19 advantage with 4:36 to play in the third on a jumper by Voskuhl.
But the score was tied 10 times, and there were 14 lead changes. The Pandas finished the game on a 10-2 run after leading 38-37 late in the fourth.
Marshall County (27-10), which snapped a seven-game losing streak in the state tournament Thursday, hung close by netting 18 of 22 free throws and playing a deliberate pace.
“I was not expecting to see stall, I can say that,” Notre Dame coach Nicole Levandusky said. “We’ve had some teams in the past stall, and obviously every possession is very important. All I can say is our girls hung in there, they didn’t cave and they held their composure.”
Senior guard Taylor Meadows paced Marshall County with 16 points.
Junior forward Carlee Clemons and sophomore forward Haylee Smith added 12 and 10 points, respectively, for Notre Dame.
NDA 9 9 12 18 - 48
MCHS 7 11 11 10 - 39
NDA - Voskuhl 20, Clemons 12, Smith 10, Kellam 6.
MCHS - Meadows 16, Brown 8, Barnard 7, McKenty 6, Greer 2.