By John Lachmann
After squandering a lead in the fourth quarter and needing overtime to win on Thursday, Notre Dame used the final period on Friday to pull away.
The Pandas beat Marshall County, 48-39 in a state quarterfinal at Diddle Arena in Bowling Green to advance to earn their first semifinals berth in school history.
Notre Dame, making its fourth-ever appearance in the state tournament, having qualified in 1978, 1987 and 2007. The Pandas went to the quarterfinal round in 1978 and 2007 but lost to Louisville Assumption and Pike County Central, respectively.
Senior forward Olivia Voskuhl led all scorers with 20 points, and she grabbed a Notre Dame-best seven rebounds. Voskuhl was also perfect on six foul shots.
Pandas junior forward Carlee Clemons added 12 points and four assists, and sophomore forward Haylee Smith recorded 10 points – all in the second half – and six boards.
The Marshals were led by senior guard Taylor Meadows’ 16 points.
Notre Dame and Marshall County were within one possession of each other the entire first half, after which the score was fittingly knotted at 18.
But after a Meadows free throw gave the Marshals a one-point lead to start the third quarter, Smith hit a 3-pointer, Clemons drained a pair of free throws and Voskuhl knocked down a jumper to give the Pandas a 25-19 lead.
Marshall County answered by scoring the next seven points to regain the lead by one, but Notre Dame ended the quarter up one, partly thanks to a 3-point play by Voskuhl.
The teams were within two points of each other the first few minutes of the final stanza. Meadows hit a pair of free throws with 4:36 remaining to tie the score for the 10th time in the game, 37-37, and the Pandas scored the next 10 points, essentially ending the game.
Junior guard Paige Kellam hit a free throw, and Voskuhl, Smith and Clemons knocked down consecutive baskets to make it 44-37 with 1:58 to play.
Clemons added a free throw and Voskuhl two after Marshall County was forced to foul, sealing the win in the final minute.
Notre Dame will face Louisville DuPont Manual at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday for a shot at a state finals berth. The championship game will be at 8 p.m. that night.
No Northern Kentucky team has even won a girls’ state title, and only two have qualified for the final. Highlands advanced to the championship game in 1994 but lost to M.C. Napier, 88-56, and Crescent Springs fell to West Louisville, 8-5 in the 1923 title game.
NOTRE DAME 9-9-12-18—48
MARSHALL CO. 7-11-11-10—39
NOTRE DAME (28-5): Voskuhl 7 6 20, Smith 4 1 10, Kellam 2 2 6, Clemons 4 3 12. Totals 17 12 48.
MARSHALL COUNTY (27-10): Brown 1 6 8, Greer 0 2 2, Meadows 4 7 16, McKenty 2 2 6, Barnard 3 1 7. Totals 10 18 39.
3-pointers: ND—Smith, Clemons. MC—Meadows.
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