BOWLING GREEN, Ky.
Marion County girls’ basketball coach Trent Milby has a message for opposing coaches who would choose to focus on his team’s two stars and overlook the other three starters.
“Keep forgetting them,” he said.
His Lady Knights continued to show plenty of weapons Friday, getting solid games from Logan Powell and Patrice Tonge in a 71-32 victory over Montgomery County in the quarterfinals of the Houchens Industries Sweet 16 in E.A. Diddle Arena.
Sure, Makayla Epps and Kyvin Goodin-Rogers — University of Kentucky signees and finalists for Miss Basketball — had their usual big games. Epps scored a game-high 22 points and added six assists and five rebounds. Goodin-Rogers had 16 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and five steals.
But Powell and Tonge also earned plenty of praise. Powell shot 3 of 5 from 3-point range and posted 19 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Tonge added six points, four rebounds and three steals and played solid defense on Montgomery County junior Erica Rogers.
Milby said Powell, who has signed with Norfolk State, has been overlooked all season. She scored 27 points in the Fifth Region final against Elizabethtown.
“When she’s scoring like that it just takes us to another level,” he said. “She’s done it all year.”
Marion County (37-0), No. 1 in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings, advanced to the semifinals for the third straight year and will face Anderson County at 11 a.m. EDT today. The Lady Knights are trying to become the first undefeated state champion since Marshall County in 1984.
“No, nobody can beat them,” Montgomery County coach Janie Robinson said. “I don’t know if you want to quote me saying that. There are a lot of scenarios, but as far as straight-up athletic basketball schools, they’re the best I’ve seen.”
Rogers hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Montgomery County a 10-4 lead with 3:59 left in the first quarter, forcing Milby to switch from a 2-3 zone to a man-to-man. The result was a 33-7 Marion County run, which Epps capped with a 3-pointer for a 37-17 lead at the 2:23 mark of the second quarter.
“Just great, smothering defense,” Milby said. “They had us spread out a little too much, so I just decided we were going to go man-to-man. This team can play man-to-man just as good as they can 2-3.”
Powell scored 15 points in the first half, hitting 5 of 7 shots.
“I just happened to play a really good game today,” she said. “… I like to shoot the ball.”
Much of the fourth quarter was played with a running clock after the Indians (29-7) fell behind by 35.
Montgomery County (28-7) – Tipton 8, Spence 5, Rogers 11, Lockett 6, Conyers 2.
Marion County (37-0) – Powell 19, Goodin-Rogers 16, Epps 22, Tonge 6, Howard 4.
3-point goals – Spence, Rogers 3; Powell 3, Goodin-Rogers 2, Epps 2, Howard.