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CRESTWOOOD – The records don’t lie when it comes to Oldham County and South Oldham’s girls basketball rivalry.
“I counted it up today,” OC coach Jace Bryant said, “and the last 12 meetings, they’re leading the series 10-2.”
After Friday night, you can make that 10-3 over the last 13.
Ashley McMurtrey scored 24 points, including the game’s last seven, Friday as the Lady Colonels finally took down their archrival, 53-47 at South.
OC’s win was keyed by seniors, players who’d been on the losing end of the rivalry plenty of times before cracking the ceiling Friday.
McMurtrey, the senior guard who’s approaching 2,000 points for her career, stepped up and hit the biggest shot of the game, a 3-pointer to give the Lady Colonels a late 49-47 lead.
Just as important was the play of senior forwards Jenna Kirk and Abigail Stewart. They scored nine points each, helped OC to a 35-20 rebounding edge and kept South center Emma Sedoris from taking control of the game.
“That was my first time (beating South) in high school and in middle school, actually,” said Stewart, who alone pulled down 14 rebounds. “It was awesome. It was well deserved. We all wanted it so badly so I think that helped us.”
The teams looked pretty even through three quarters, with the Lady Dragons holding a 43-42 edge heading into the fourth.
The teams traded defensive stops before Kirk scored to give OC a 44-43 lead. She hit two free throws on a later possession, pushing the Lady Colonel lead to 46-43.
Neither team was having much offensive success though, and a transition bucket by South’s Erin Wilson cut the lead to 46-45.
Junior guard Abbey VanZant then gave the Lady Dragons a 47-46 lead with two free throws with three minutes to play.
That’s when McMurtrey took over. Following a Lady Dragon missed basket, South lost the OC guard on the other end of the court. McMurtrey stepped up and hit the 3-pointer to give the Lady Colonels a 49-47 lead.
She hit another basket with just under two minutes to play to make the score 51-47, then two free throws with a minute left to push OC’s lead to the final score of 53-47.
“Ashley wants to beat South more than anybody on our team,” Bryant said. “She’s been playing varsity ball for five years and she’s never beaten them. That was big for her to have the guts to do that. The third quarter, she didn’t play very well. And the fourth quarter, she just decided it was her game.”
OC allowed South to score just four fourth-quarter points. The defensive stops after Sedoris scored 12 of her 15 points in the third.
“Sedoris was hard to guard that third quarter,” Bryant said. “We wanted to keep the ball out of her hands as much as possible… the big key was just keeping the guards in front of us so they didn’t drive and give Sedoris a wide open layup… It wasn’t an individual. It was the whole team in the fourth quarter, defensively.”
Then when South missed shots, OC players were there for the rebound. The Lady Colonels beat the Lady Dragons on the boards 21-10 in the first half and 14-10 in the second.
“Our key was to box out because Sedoris is a very good player,” Stewart said. “She’s big, so we had to box her out to make sure she wouldn’t get the rebounds. I think that we just wanted to play hard and we wanted to win so we dug down deep and found a way to get the rebounds.”
South coach Christy Higdon said she was impressed by her team’s ability to keep the game close despite Sedoris, Wilson and guard Holly Schumm battling foul trouble.
Still, the rebounding difference and the fourth quarter troubles kept her team from getting another win over its archrival, she said.
“I thought we had it,” Higdon said.
Oldham County – 10, 15, 17, 11 – 53
South Oldham – 9, 12, 22, 4 – 47
Oldham County – McMurtrey 24, Kirk 9, Stewart 9, Patrick 5, Davis 4, Wernert 2
South Oldham – Sedoris 15, Platt 11, VanZant 11, Wilson 6, Jones 4