By David Green
BOWLING GREEN – Notre Dame ended Marshall County’s run in the state tournament with a 48-39 victory in the quarterfinals Friday night.
Using a slowdown offense in concession to the Pandas’ perimeter defense, the Lady Marshals kept it close for awhile, but Notre Dame’s relentless, physical defense finally wore them down and the Covington team, ranked fourth in the state by the Litkenhous Ratings, pulled away in the final 3:30.
Marshall County ends the season with a 27-10 record. Notre Dame, also 27-10, advances to the semifinals to play defending state champion DuPont Manual, a 78-69 winner over Owensboro Catholic Friday night.
Undefeated Marion County, a 71-32 winner over Montgomery County Friday afternoon, will test its 36-0 mark against 33-1 Anderson County, a 65-23 winner over Shelby Valley in the quarterfinals.
Taylor Meadows ended her career with a 16-point performance to lead the Lady Marshals in scoring.
Notre Dame got a 20-point effort from Olivia Voskuhl. Carlee Clemons added 12 and Haylee Smith 10.
Marshall County showed its hand early. The Lady Marshals spread their offense on its first possession after Clemons gave Notre Dame a 2-0 lead. Alex Brown drew a foul and hit both shots to tie it at 2-2.
Notre Dame went up 4-2 on a shot by Voskhul, and the Lady Marshals stalled nearly two minutes before Bailey Greer drew another foul. She hit one of two shots.
Notre Dame led 9-7 after one quarter, with five of Marshall County’s points coming on six free throws. Sophomore Alyssa Barnard got the one basket, on a drive to the basket with 12 seconds left in the period.
Marshall County moved ahead 12-9 on a three-point play by Barnard early in the second period. The teams jousted at a slow pace, and the half ended in an 18-18 deadlock, as Mariah McKenty threaded a neat pass to Brown for a layup with four seconds left before intermission.
The lead changed hands four times in the third quarter, and four more times in the final period before Notre Dame put together seven straight points to pull out to a 44-37 advantage.
The expanding lead during that spurt forced Marshall County’s hand, and the Pandas exploited the increased tempo. They outscored the Lady Marshals 11-2 over the final 3:24 to pull away from a 37-37 tie at the 4:30 mark.