MILESTONE: Trimble County senior Chloe Griffith (center) fires up teammates (from left) Jessie Dunlap, Jessica Ball, Paige Black and Erin Gonterman late in Wednesday’s district tournament loss to Oldham County in Buckner, Ky. Griffith had 10 rebounds and went over the 1,000-rebound mark for her career in the loss. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
MILESTONE: Trimble County senior Chloe Griffith (center) fires up teammates (from left) Jessie Dunlap, Jessica Ball, Paige Black and Erin Gonterman late in Wednesday’s district tournament loss to Oldham County in Buckner, Ky. Griffith had 10 rebounds and went over the 1,000-rebound mark for her career in the loss. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
BUCKNER, Ky. - Oldham County's Ashley McMurtrey, who has made a career of knocking Trimble County out of the playoffs, did so again on Wednesday to lead the Colonels to a 59-53 win in the semifinals of the 29th District Tournament.

A year ago, McMurtrey beat Trimble on a coast-to-coast drive with .4 seconds left on the clock to lift Oldham County to a stunning one-point win.

On Wednesday, McMurtrey scored 12 of her game-high 22 points - 10 after Trimble had cut the lead to one - to once again deny the Raiders a regional berth.

It was the kind of loss that left Trimble coach Kerrie Stewart more frustrated than sad as her team was eliminated from the postseason by Oldham County for the fifth time in the past eight seasons.

"I am so sick of losing to Oldham County knowing that we are right there and have the ability to beat them," Stewart said. "We just can't seem to get over the hump."

Trimble County (13-13) led 3-0 and 6-3 early and then spent the rest of the game chasing Oldham County down. There were times when it seemed that the Raiders had no chance at victory, especially after the turnovers began piling up.

Trimble turned the ball over 27 times during the game, many of which were unforced passes into the post. Whenever the Raiders put together any semblance of a run, it was usually a turnover that stopped their momentum.

"Turnovers really hurt us, especially in the first half," Stewart said. "We were just rushing things and I took two timeouts just to tell them to calm down."

Still, Trimble County was in the game. Trailing by six (41-35) at the start of the fourth quarter, the Raiders got a big 3-pointer from eighth-grader Kaylee Clifford just 10 seconds into the period and a short jumper from senior Chloe Griffith to make it a one-point game.

As it would do all game, Oldham answered with back-to-back baskets by Sarah Lopecilvero to push the lead back to five.

Erin Gonterman answered with a bucket for Trimble and McMurtrey scored her first points since the first half to keep it a five-point game (47-42) with 4:38 to play.

Griffith again scored and, after a rebound, the Raiders pulled back to within one on a Jessie Dunlap drive to the basket with 4:02 left.

An Oldham turnover at mid-court gave Trimble County a chance to take the lead on its next possession. Junior guard Paige Black sliced into the lane and had a good look at an eight-footer, but the open shot rimmed out.

The Colonels got the rebound and raced down to the other end for a McMurtrey layup to end the threat. Trimble turnovers on the next two possessions led to Oldham points in transition, both finished by McMurtrey who nailed a 3-pointer on the second shot to push the lead to eight (54-46) with 2:33 to play.

Trimble did not go away and even pulled to within four in the final minute but the damage had been done.

"We had a chance to go up one and that shot goes into the cylinder and comes right out," Stewart said. "That was a big play."

Black and McMurtrey traded baskets and Dunlap's traditional three-point play pulled the Raiders back to within five. Trimble then turned the ball over on three-straight possessions over the next 30 seconds.

After a McMurtrey free throw, Gonterman hit a basket in transition to cut the lead to four (57-53) with 23 seconds left but it proved to be the Raiders' last points. McMurtrey missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw but Trimble couldn't hit the shot on the other end.

Lopecilvero then sank two free throws with three seconds to play to ice the win.

While Trimble turned the ball over 27 times, Oldham had 19 miscues of its own. The Colonels were also just 10-of-18 at the free throw line which allowed the Raiders to stay in the game.

Black finished with 16 points to lead the Raiders while Gonterman scored 11 and Griffith had a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Griffith's third rebound of the game in the second quarter pushed her over 1,000 for her career and she finished with 1,007. Stewart believes that total puts Griffith at least second on the school's all-time list.

"We were really hoping she would do that during senior night so that we could honor her but with this being a district game we couldn't stop the game," Stewart said. "But I couldn't be more proud of her. She has had a wonderful career."

McMurtrey's 22 points led all scorers. Jenna Kirk added 13 for Oldham County and Lopecilvero scored 11.

Griffith and Jessica Ball are the team's only seniors and while Stewart is sad to see the two depart, she was proud of the way they went out.

"I thought both Jessica Ball and Chloe Griffith played extremely well and gave us great minutes. You could tell their heart and soul was pouring into the game tonight," Stewart said. "They've been huge contributors to this program over the past four and five years, not only with what they do on the floor, but because of the human beings that they are. They're going to go onto bigger and better things and we're just proud to have had them a part of this program."

But the future is extremely bright for the Raiders. Trimble County returns virtually every player on the roster and Stewart feels with some hard work in the offseason, her team can be one of the favorites next season.

"We feel like the next two or three years we can be competitive, not only with the Class A schools but with the Oldhams as well," Stewart said.

"I don't ever want to feel this way again. I'm sick of losing to Oldham County," Stewart added. "We're right there. What are we going to do between now and next February to make sure Oldham County feels like we do now and not us? We'll see."

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GIRLS 29th DISTRICT TOURNAMENT

Semifinals

at Buckner, Ky.

OLDHAM CO. 59, TRIMBLE CO. 53



TRIMBLE CO. 8 16 11 18 - 53

OLDHAM CO. 14 17 10 18 - 59



TRIMBLE CO. (13-13) - (g)P. Black 16, (f)E. Gonterman 11, (f)Griffith 10, (g)Dunlap 7, S. Black 4, Clifford 3, (f)Ball 2, Brierly 0, Consley 0.

OLDHAM CO. (15-11) - (g)McMurtrey 22, (f)Kirk 13, (f)Lopecilvero 11, (g)Leanhart 9, (g)S. Henderson 4, Stewart 0, K. Henderson 0, Davis 0, Brooks 0, Heite 0.



3-Point Goals - Trimble Co. 3 (P. Black 2, Clifford 1), Oldham Co. 3 (McMurtrey 2, Leanhart 1). Turnovers - Trimble Co. 27, Oldham Co. 19. Total Fouls - Trimble Co. 17, Oldham Co. 16. Free Throws - Trimble Co. 10-13 (77%), Oldham Co. 10-18 (56%). Fouled Out - None. Next Game - Trimble Co.'s season ends. Oldham Co. faces South Oldham in the 29th District championship Friday.