November 20, 2023 – Deron Mays
The Owsley County girls basketball program has been knocking on the door for a regional title for the past few years but have always come up a little short of the big prize. They finished the 2022/23 season with a 23-9 record, which marked the 4th consecutive year they have won 20 or more games.
Owsley County made the semifinals in 2020, 2021, and made it to the championship game in 2022 where they lost by 1 point in a heartbreaking overtime thriller that was determined by a last second basket. And last year they stumbled in the the first round of the region with a 4 point loss to Letcher Central.
With all the team returning this year and the addition of a transfer from South Laurel the Lady Owls are back in the hunt again for a 5th consecutive district title and their first ever regional championship. Returning at guard leading the team is 5 year starter Carly Smith, a senior with tons of experience. She has been named either the number 1 or number 2 player in the region according to various polls. She has earned the high accolades with her great leadership abilities. She is one of the top shooters in the state, sitting at 50% from behind the arc and 87% at the free throw line. She averaged 19.7 ppg last season and has scored over 2,000 points in her career. She will most definitely add to that total significantly this season. She is the coach’s daughter and is like a coach on the floor to the rest of the team, a very valuable asset.
Sophomore Addison Terry is a do-it-all type player that averaged a double-double last season (15.2 ppg/10.3 rpg). She is a rugged guard that can play any position needed and doesn’t mind mixing it up with bigger players in the paint.
Laya Lynch is a 5’9 senior wing who averaged 9.2 ppg and 3.5 rpg last year. She moves well without the ball and is good at scoring on cuts to the basket or 3 pointers.
Shelby Murray is a 5’7 forward who plays bigger than her height and averaged 7.2 rebounds as a junior.
Macey Brown is a 6’2 freshman center who led the team in rebounds last season with a 10.8 average. She also averaged 9.8 ppg and led the team in shots blocked.
The Lady Owls are deeper this season with the addition of freshman Kamilla Marcum, a 6’ center/forward who transferred from South Laurel over the summer. Also on the depth chart is 5’6 freshman guard Kenzie Grubb. She was a key contributor off the bench last season and averaged 3.8 ppg.
Also in the fold is a talented group of 8th graders who went 16-3 during their middle school season. The coaches’ daughter Dalaney Smith, Erica Mason, Kiley Taylor and Harley Dooley and one 7th grader, Lauren Gay, completes the roster.
Coach Travis Smith has put the girls through the usual summer games and fall weight lifting and conditioning, and after October 15 the team has worked extremely hard in practice sessions to make this season a success.
“We have to give the extra effort because the district and region is always a challenge, said Smith. “Other teams have the same goals we do and it will take hard work and dedication to win it.”
Coach Smith has a challenging schedule this season, opening up with top 20 state rated Boyd County in the PRTC Classic on December 2. He will follow that game up with another tough battle with Knox Central in the WYMT Mountain Classic. Perry Central is back on the schedule (twice), Leslie County, Hazard (twice), Madison Southern, Breathitt County, Jenkins, Wolfe County, West Carter, Letcher County Central, and North Laurel are also slated to play the Lady Owls. There’s also the seeded round-robin district games with Lee County, Estill County and Powell County. In addition, the Lady Owls will travel to Florida over Christmas holidays to play in the Sandestin Beach Blowout and also are in the annual All A Classic tournament.
If preseason scrimmages are any indicator the Lady Owls are heading in the right direction. They played Whitley County last week and won 73-44 and played Mercer County in a panorama at Montgomery County November 18 and won 60-48.