OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - The brackets for this year’s high school basketball regional tournaments are set, and one team that finds itself in a familiar situation is the Apollo High School girls team.
The Eagles (21-9) are returning to the KHSAA 3rd Region Tournament for the second straight year after taking care of business last week against Daviess County, winning 56-43 in the 9th District matchup. For the Apollo girls program, this is its second-consecutive 20-win season.
Meanwhile, co-head coaches Natalie Payne and Willis McClure are no strangers to tournament success. While playing for McClure back in the 1990s, Payne helped lead the Eagles to three straight appearances in the state finals.
“They can depend on Coach McClure and I because we have been there before,” said Natalie Payne, co-head coach. “He’s been there as a coach. I’ve never won a regional as a coach, but as a player, we went three years in a row (to state), my sophomore, junior, and senior year, so they know that we’ve been there, and we’ve had a taste of it, we know what it feels like, and we want to be able to put them in a position to do the same.”
“I think our coaching staff’s basketball IQ is literally out of this roof,” said Zoe Floyd, Apollo junior forward. “They teach us so much on a daily basis, it’s just such an honor to play underneath them.”
“Learning from them, and taking advice from them, just kinda gives us a step above everybody else I feel like," said Kassidy Daugherty, Apollo junior guard. "We have several people from the five that go out and play, to the people on the bench, everybody works together and everybody does their part and it all helps us win.”
The Eagles will play next against Muhlenberg County (21-10) at the Owensboro Sportscenter on Tuesday at 6 p.m.