DCA girls fall to O-Cath in All ‘A’

Published 10:54 am Tuesday, January 30, 2024

By Mike Marsee

Contributing Writer

CORBIN – The scoreboard said the Danville Christian girls lost by 30 at the All “A” Classic, but they really lost by one.

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The loss of one player – the one player DCA couldn’t do without – was enough to take away any chance the Lady Warriors might have had Friday against one of the state’s top teams.

Center Grace Mbugua got into early foul trouble that limited her effectiveness and left DCA powerless to stop No. 6 Owensboro Catholic, which led to a 79-49 defeat in a quarterfinal at Corbin Arena.

Mbugua had four fouls in less than nine minutes and fouled out midway through the third quarter, leaving the Lady Warriors without a top-five scorer and rebounder and without any way to keep the Lady Aces from getting to the basket.

“When your star player’s out, when she has more fouls (in the first half) than the entire other team has, you’re probably not going to win that game,” DCA coach Billy Inmon said.

In fact, it became DCA’s worst defeat since a 63-32 loss to Pikeville in its All “A” debut two years ago.

The Lady Warriors gave up 56 points in the first half – only two previous opponents had scored that many on them in a game this season – and simply couldn’t compete without their best player on the floor.

“I don’t have a problem admitting without Grace we’re not the same team,” Inmon said. “We have a lot of other really good players, but we rely on her so much. You can’t transition in the middle of a game to say we’re going to rely on her, we’re going to look for her, and then all of a sudden we’ve got to change the whole game plan.”

DCA (17-2) already faced a tall task against Owensboro Catholic (16-3), something Inmon and his players knew when they walked in the door. They had played the Lady Aces in a preseason scrimmage, and Inmon said it’s one of the best teams DCA has ever played.

Owensboro Catholic (16-3) used full-court pressure to force DCA into 25 turnovers, and that defense began taking a toll right away. The Lady Aces forced seven turnovers as they opened the game with an 11-0 run.

It was 20-4 less than five minutes into the game, but DCA outscored Owensboro Catholic 12-5 over the rest of the period as Mbugua passed over the pressure to help Paisley Metz get two layups and Grace Meyer and Amauri Blackford get one each.

DCA trailed 27-16 when Mbugua went to the bench with her fourth foul 47 seconds into the second quarter, and it was 43-18 when Inmon decided to put her back in just over two minutes later.

“I said, ‘Why wait to put her in? The game’s going to be over?’ And you saw what the difference was when she came back in the game,” Inmon said.

The teams played to a 19-all tie from then until Mbugua fouled out with 4:41 left in the third quarter. She finished with a season-low eight points and seven rebounds in just over 17 minutes, well below her averages of 24.5 and 14.5.

“That’s the first time she’s been in that type of trouble all season,” Inmon said. “And without her being in there, we saw what happened. The game got out of hand in a hurry.”

Metz and Meyer led DCA with 14 points each and Blackford had a game-high 11 rebounds.

The loss brought an end to a 10-game winning streak that was the program’s longest in its six seasons as a full-fledged member of the KHSAA.

The Lady Warriors’ running-clock loss came less than 48 hours after their running-clock win over Shawnee in the first round Wednesday, but Inmon said he was pleased that the Lady Warriors continued to fight.

“I think this is a good lesson for them to learn,” he said. “I said, ‘Listen, winners don’t always win, but winners always keep going. They don’t quit.’ And for basketball it’s one thing, but for life and the Christian walk it’s super important. … Life is not going to go your way all the time. You just have to keep going.”

The Lady Warriors begin a stretch of three straight 45th District games beginning Tuesday against Lincoln County as they enter the homestretch of their schedule, and Inmon said he doesn’t think there will be any lasting effects from this loss as they focus on the postseason.

“I’m not as worried about that as I was the last time,” he said. “The last time we were here they were just happy that it happened to the point where everything else was just gravy. I do think this team is hungry for something, so I’m not quite as worried about that.”

Scoring summary

OWENSBORO CATHOLIC (16-3) — Jenna Krampe 6-11 4-5 16, Carmen Riley 6-10 0-0 12, Hailee Johnson 5-11 5-6 16, Aubrey Randolph 2-4 1-1 5, Delaney Cooper 6-10 2-2 16, Claudia Munsey 0-3 0-0 0, Taylor Mannahan 1-3 2-2 4, Mallory Powers 0-1 1-2 1, Skye Riley 0-1 0-0 0, Payton Arnold 0-2 0-0 0, Layla Martin 3-8 0-0 7, Katie Hagan 1-5 0-0 2. Totals 30-69 15-18 79.

DANVILLE CHRISTIAN (17-2) — Paisley Metz 6-17 0-0 14, Grace Meyer 4-10 3-5 14, Grace Mbugua 4-13 0-0 8, Amauri Blackford 4-6 0-0 8, Braxtyn Heck 2-5 1-3 5, Adelis Gjoci 0-2 0-0 0, Isabella Bradshaw 0-1 0-0 0, Tatum Boyd 0-0 0-0 0, Emily Musasi 0-1 0-0 0, Nadya Abrams 0-1 0-0 0, Isabella Perez 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-57 4-8 49.

Owensboro Catholic 25-29-20-3 — 79

Danville Christian 16-14-8-11 — 49

3-Point Goals—Owensboro Catholic 4-14 (Krampe 0-1, C. Riley 0-2, Johnson 1-3, Cooper 2-4, S. Riley 0-1, Martin 1-3), DCA 5-24 (Metz 2-11, Meyer 3-7, Mbugua 0-1, Heck 0-2, Gjoci 0-1, Bradshaw 0-1, Perez 0-1). Fouled Out—Mbugua. Rebounds—Owensboro Catholic 23 (Krampe Mannahan 5), DCA 29 (Blackford 11). Assists—Owensboro Catholic 12 (Cooper 4), DCA 11 (Metz, Heck 3). Turnovers—Owensboro Catholic 9, DCA 25. Total Fouls–Owensboro Catholic 6, DCA 11.