OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) – Think back to the year 1997. It’s when the movie Titanic was premiered in theatres. It’s when a gallon of gas was just over a dollar. And it’s also the last time the Apollo E-gals last won a third region championship.
The players on this year’s Apollo team weren’t even alive when that feat was accomplished, but that didn’t keep them from making it happen again.
The E-gals took down Meade County earlier this week to claim the regional title. Now, they’re ready to embark on a trip to the KHSAA Sweet Sixteen.
Even though the road back to state hasn’t necessarily been a straight one, the E-gals are thrilled to be headed to Rupp.
“I think it just meant a lot doing it with the girls, as well,” said senior guard Kassidy Daugherty. “It was something that we planned on doing last year, and fell short of doing pretty early in the season. This year, we were just driven to get it done. It just meant a lot.”
Despite the regional drought, head coach Natalie Payne said her players rose to the occasion when it mattered most.
“We talk about it all the time,” Payne said. “We look at the banners and say, ‘Leave a legacy. What kind of legacy do you want to leave? Let’s get the 2021 stamped on that banner.’ And they’ve really taken that to heart. They realize that it’s been a long time since we’ve taken a team to the state tournament, and they’re ready to take the floor and compete.”
Payne knows a thing or two about leaving a legacy. The Apollo head coach was a member of that 1997 team, and will have the chance to return to the state tournament from a different vantage point.
Apollo will tip-off in the Sweet Sixteen against a Henderson County team that defeated them 50-33 last month. That game will tip-off at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 8 at Rupp Arena.
(This story was originally published on April 2, 2021)