Owsley County Lady Owls Win Their fifth straight 56th District Championship

by Deron Mays

Owsley County won their fifth straight 56th district championship Wednesday with a hard fought 42-32 victory over the Estill County Lady Engineers at Powell County.

Estill ‘s strategy was obvious from the start to slow the pace and not get into a running, back and forth game with the Lady Owls. Owsley is averaging almost 70 points per game but the slow pace resulted in a 10-5 Owsley lead after one quarter and they held a 25-16 advantage at the half.

Lady Engineer senior forward Sarah Baker put her team on her back and nearly pulled off the upset. She scored 19 of her team’s 32 points, had close to double digit rebounds and at least six blocked shots as well as numerous altered shot attempts. She also nailed three 3-pointers in the low scoring contest.

Estill cut the lead to 2 points twice, once at the 4:00 minute mark in the fourth quarter and again with about 2:30 remaining in the game. That’s when Owsley’s Regional Player of the Year Carly Smith took control of the tense situation. She made a difficult 14 foot elbow shot off a screen and followed that with a step back three that gave the Lady Owls some breathing room with a 39-32 lead. Wolfe was unable to connect on their end and was forced to foul. Coach Travis Smith made sure he kept the ball in the hands of his daughter Carly, an 86% free throw shooter. She was 5/6 at the line in the quarter (and 10/12 for the game). The Lady Owls held on for the 42-32 win and will go into the region as a district winner, always important because they will be playing a runner-up from one of the three other districts. The draw will be held in Campton Friday afternoon and as of now BSN has plans to broadcast the proceedings. BSN will also broadcast both girls and boys regions next week from Stanton and Irvine.

Awards were handed out following the game for an All Tournament Team for the season play and also an All District Team for the 56th District Tournament. I didn’t get all the names but there are group pictures aplenty on Facebook of all the winners.

As for the other awards, Owsley’s Carly Smith took home the Drew and Jeremiah Smith Most Valuable Player Award, her second consecutive MVP award. It was the fifth straight year an Owsley player has won the award. Lexy Lynch won it three years, 2020, 2021, and 2022. Powell’s Sarah Baker was named the Steve Bennett Defensive Award and Owsley freshman Kenzie Grubb was named the Bobby Bowling Sixth Man Award for the second straight year.

Owsley County (42)

Carly Smith 19, Addie Terry 5, Macey Brown 5, Laya Lynch 8, Shelby Murray 2, Kenzie Grubb 3

Estill County (32)

Sarah Baker 19, Haley Angel 2, Ava Hale 2, Callie Snowden 4, Kadara Skinner 5