The Lady Engineers defeated Powell County on Monday night in the semifinal of the 56th District Basketball Tournament. Estill’s win came immediately following Owsley County’s upset over top-seeded Lee County.
Led by their frontcourt of Sidney Danyeur and McKenzie Flynn, the Lady Engineers were able to take down their bitter rivals in a thrilling 56-47 victory. Despite trailing early, the Lady Engineers showed their resilience and battled back to take the lead in the second half.
Officials were calling touchy fouls through the opening quarter of the game, which put Estill in trouble early. By the end of the first, the Lady Engineers had picked up seven fouls. Danyeur, Brewer and Duechle were in foul trouble early and struggled to impact the game in the first half.
The game changed in the third quarter, when the Lady Engineers flexed their muscle in the paint and ratcheted things up on defense. Estill’s pressure forced numerous turnovers out of the Lady Pirates, allowing the Lady Engineers to get easy scoring opportunities.
Flynn and Danyeur were on full display in the second half, combining for 17 points in the final two quarters. Their performances not only gave Estill the lead, but also gave them a double-digit advantage with just minutes remaining.
Estill’s phenomenal third quarter ended up being the difference in the game. The Lady Engineers outscored Powell 20-9 during that period.
Powell County began pressing in the fourth, but the nerves combined with Estill’s outstanding defense turned into numerous mistakes. The Lady Pirates struggled to even create shots, despite trailing by 10 points.
Coach Hall’s team defended from all five positions on the floor, out-rebounded Powell at both ends and knocked down their free throws, hitting 12-of-16. Those three things were the difference in the game.
After losing at home to Powell back on Feb. 3, in a nail biter, 49-48, this game meant something extra to the Lady Engineers. Not only had they defeated their bitter rivals and last year’s district champion, but they had defended their home court.
Estill advances to the championship game and are set to match up with an opponent that many did not expect. In the night’s opening game, Owsley County had pulled off the upset of top-seeded Lee County in overtime.
The Lady Owls knocked off the Lady Kats thanks to a 40-point performance from junior standout, Macie Gibson. The win was Owsley’s first in district play this season, but it came at the perfect time.
Although Owsley hadn’t won a game in district play throughout the regular season, they have one of the most talented players on their roster in Gibson. The junior averages just under 30 PPG.
In the previous two games between Owsley and Estill, Gibson scored 32 and 29 points. Despite her big time scoring, Estill came out victorious in both games. On Feb. 6, the Lady Engineers won 68-48, but just a week later Estill struggled to edge by them, 49-47.
This sets up for a fantastic showdown in the championship game that will pit Owsley’s Gibson against Estill’s duo of Danyeur and Flynn. Coach Hall and company will have to muster something special in order to capture their first district title since the 2010-11 season.
Tip-off for the 56th District Championship game is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23.