HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - Olivia Voskuhl and Elly Ogle combined for 40 points and 22 rebounds, helping Notre Dame overcome a sluggish start to defeat Boone County, 66-38, on Sunday in the girls' 9th Region semifinals.
The Rebels held Voskuhl, who had torched them for 26 in the Pandas' win over Boone in January, to just four points in the first half. Sparked by a pair of 3-pointers from both Alexis Switzer and Dallis Knotts, the Rebels held a one-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
They still held the one-point advantage midway through the second, but Notre Dame went on a 8-2 run before the break to take a five-point lead at the break.
"We've gotten pressure from a lot of teams this year, and people have said we can't handle it," said NDA coach Nicole Levandusky. "Our girls take a measure of pride that they keep proving them wrong."
With Voskuhl struggling, Ogle picked up the slack. The junior guard scored eight points before intermission, earning a nod from her coach.
"Elly's a competitor. She does her role, and she does it well. When we lack scoring, she scores. When we can't handle the ball, Elly handles it, and when we need rebounding, Elly rebounds," said Levandusky. "She wants to win, like all our girls, and they push each other."
After the break, it was Voskuhl's turn to push.
She scored the Pandas' first eight points in the third quarter, then nailed a 3-pointer to push Nore Dame's lead to 18 by the start of the fourth. The senior scored 13 of Notre Dame's 21-point outburst in the third, adding six in the fourth to finish with a game-high 23 points to go with her eight rebounds.
Voskuhl said her shots just weren't falling in the first half, so she headed inside.
"Once I started getting some of those to fall, with a smaller player guarding me, I started hitting from the outside, too. I think maybe it was nerves, in the first half, since we lost to them in the final last year, but we settled down in the second half," she said.
Ogle, her running mate, tallied 17 points and 14 rebounds while Carlee Clemons added 13 to help pace the Pandas.
The Rebels were led by Switzer's 15 points and eight from Jesse Jones.
"We just didn't move the ball very well and went cold for a while," Boone coach Nell Fookes said after the Rebels finished shooting just 23 percent from the field.
"A lot of that goes to Notre Dame's defense, though. They were just too athletic for us. But we had a great year. For us to win our district, going in as the four-seed, I don't think we could have asked for more. We have a great group of kids."
NOTRE DAME 17-12-21-16—66
BOONE CO. 18-6-8-6—38
NOTRE DAME (25-5): Ogle 5 6 17, Voskuhl 10 2 23, Kellam 1 3 5, Henderson 2 0 4, Clemons 5 2 13, Smith 1 2 4. Totals 24 15 66.
BOONE CO. (18-12): Ford 1 0 2, McGarr 1 1 3, Jones 2 4 8, Switzer 5 3 15, Moore 1 0 2, Knotts 2 0 6, McQueary 1 0 2. Totals 13 8 38.
3-pointers: ND—Ogle, Voskuhl, Clemons. B—Switzer 2, Knotts 2.
HIGHLANDS 66, RYLE 38 — Top-ranked Highlands survived a scare from Ryle, coming from behind in the second half to run away with the win and a berth in Monday's 9th Regional title game.
The Raiders, whose 12-18 record coming into the game belied a tough schedule and several injuries during the season, went on a 11-0 run in the first quarter, then added a Anna Monobe free throw at the start of the second to grab a 15-9 lead.
Then they held off a Bluebirds rally to head into the break up two, 21-19.
After the break, though, Highlands took charge with a 13-1 run.
Down 13 early in the fourth quarter, Ryle fought back to pull within six points with just over two minutes left, but the Bluebirds broke the Raider press with open fast breaks in three straight possessions and was perfect from the free throw line to end up with the 16-point win.
Vanessa Fisse finished with 12 points to lead Highlands, and Emilie Parton and Leah Schaefer added 10 points apiece to the Bluebirds' total.
The Raiders were topped by 12 points from McKell Oliviero and Madison Monobe's 11. Freshman Carly Lange added nine.
Raiders coach Patti Oliviero said her squad ended its season with every reason to be proud.
"We went through a lot of adversity this year, but we were playing our best at the end of the year. We couldn't have asked for more from this group," Oliviero said. "Like I told them, this was the worst record I've ever had, but the most fun I've had coaching because of the chemistry we had on this team."
As for the Bluebirds, they're eager for Monday's regional title game date with Notre Dame. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.
The squads played on the Pandas' home court of Jan. 8, with NDA coming away with the 63-48 win. Brianna Adler and Leah Schaefer scored 15 apiece for Highlands in the first meeting, going toe-to-toe with the Pandas' Elly Ogle (15 points) and Olivia Voskuhl (18).
"We're really looking forward to it," said Schaefer, who will likely draw the task of covering Voskuhl, arguably the area's top player. "We've been playing each other since