BICKNELL — North Knox's Graycie Poe has done the heavy lifting for the girls basketball team, but she needed some extra muscle Tuesday against Owen Valley.
Abigail McKinley was up to the challenge. The junior scored a career-high 21 points to go with 11 rebounds, and the Warriors scored the game's final seven points to nip the Patriots, 50-48.
Poe contributed 15 points and a game-ending block of Mikayla Miller's 3-point try at the buzzer to seal the win. It was an important victory for momentum purposes, as North Knox (9-6) has won four in a row and seven of its last eight.
"We're growing and starting to understand the game better. You look at our team four, five games ago and it was all Graycie Poe. Now we're getting contributions from other people and it's making our team better," Warriors coach Steve Meurer said.
McKinley did a lot of her damage late when it was needed.
Owen Valley (4-9) used a 19-point third quarter to build a 42-34 lead. But McKinley drained all three of her 3-point attempts in the final quarter, the last tying the game at 48 with 1:37 to go.
"I could tell the first two minutes that Abigail was offensive minded. That's the Abigail I saw at the beginning of the year. If she can continue to do that, oh boy, that's going to help," Meurer said. "I couldn't ask for better offensive execution in the fourth quarter, and Abigail coming off those screens and nailing those shots, that was impressive."
The defense, along with 6-of-14 free-throw shooting, were sore spots with Meurer, but he noted his team played well on the other end late.
In the final minute, little-used Cora Armes made a steal, then nearly converted a basket while being fouled. She hit 1-of-2 free throws at :40 on the clock to give the Warriors the lead for good. Reegan Hammelman hauled in a key defensive rebound with eight seconds left and hit 1-of-2 free throws to push the lead to two. Then Poe's stuff of Miller's trifecta ended the game.
"Cora has been coming on. She had been quarantined, but had a fantastic JV game and comes out in the varsity game and didn't look like she missed a beat," Meurer said. "I could tell Graycie was under the weather. She was short-arming her free throws and just didn't look like herself. But once again she made the big play at the end."
Meurer was complimentary of Owen Valley's team and noted that it was one of the few games where the Warriors didn't have a speed advantage. The Patriots also showed some buzzer-beating talent. Madison Kay hit a half-court shot at the first-quarter horn to give Owen Valley a 14-11 edge. Reagan Martin, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds, canned a 3-pointer off an out-of-bounds play in the final second to give the visitors a 23-22 halftime edge.
Kay and Miller had 11 apiece for the Patriots, who only played their five starters. It took North Knox and its 10-player rotation until the fourth quarter to wear down Owen Valley. The Patriots were 1-of-8 in the final stanza with five turnovers.
North Knox's junior varsity (11-5) rolled, 41-15. Emma Saucerman had eight points, and Lillee Cardinal and Lucy Sheren added seven.
The Warriors host Bloomfield at 11 a.m. Saturday.
NORTH KNOX 50, OWEN VALLEY 48
Richardson (f) 3-6 1-2 7, Martin (c) 5-154 6-8 18, Johnson (g) 0-2 1-2 1, Miller (g) 4-16 0-0 11, Kay (g) 3-9 3-4 11. Totals: 15-48 11-16 48.
McCory (f) 2-6 2-2 8, Wolfe (c) 0-1 0-0 0, McKinley (g) 8-12 1-3 21, Poe (g) 7-24 1-3 15, Hammelman (g) 2-7 1-4 5, Thomas 0-0 0-0 0, Saucerman 0-1 0-0 0, Jones 0-1 0-0 0, Armes 0-1 1-2 1, Cardinal 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-52 6-14 50.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Owen Valley |14-9-19-6 — 48
North Knox |11-11-12-16 — 50
3-pointers: Owen Valley 7-19 (Miller 3-10, Martin 2-3, Kay 2-4, Richardson 0-1, Johnson 0-1), North Knox 6-15 (McKinley 4-7, McCory 2-3, Hammelman 0-1, Saucerman 0-1, Armes 0-1, Poe 0-2). Rebounds: Owen Valley 33 (Richardson 11, Martin 10), North Knox 37 (McKinley 11). Turnovers: Owen Valley 14, North Knox 12. Fouls: Owen Valley 13, North Knox 13. JV: North Knox 41-15.