By Chris Schmidbauer, Sports Information Director
Circleville, OH -- After leading by just 11 points at the break, the #5 Owens Express used an 11-2 run early in the third period to help them run away with an 84-59 win over Lakeland in Friday's District I semifinal.
The Express struggled shooting from the floor early, and the team was a little rusty after not having played a game since February 24. Owens was up 18-9 after the first period with both teams only shooting under 32% from the floor. The second period wasn't a lot better, with both teams shooting under 40% leading to a 34-32 halftime advantage for the Express.
Whatever was said during halftime made a difference as Owens would shoot 64.3% for the entire second half which helped them pull away from the Lakers. Essence Cowan's three with 7:13 to play in the third put the Express up 20 points, and Owens would push that lead further over the remainder of the ballgame.
Cowan and fellow sophomore Brenda Pennington were the offensive catalysts after halftime. Pennington finished with a game high 27 points on 7-15 shooting and she was even better at the charity stripe. The Hammond, IN native hit 12-13 free throws to represent a good chunk of her point total. She was also the team's leading rebounder with seven and leading distributor with seven assists. She also had three steals.
Cowan caught fire from beyond the arc in the third, hitting three consecutive three pointers, and she finished the game with 20 points. The Lima, OH native shot 7-13 from the floor in the game and was 4-9 from three. She also had four rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks for a balanced statistical performance.
Dai'Shona Polk would finish in double figures as well with 10 points on 3-6 shooting. Polk grabbed six rebounds in the game as well. Da'Vina Shelton had nine points on 3-6 shooting from the floor along with four rebounds and four assists.
Lakeland's Armani Jackson paced the Lakers with 19 points on 7-13 shooting while Delesha Jackson finished with 13 points on 5-18 shooting.
For the game, Owens shot 49.1% (28-57) from the floor while Lakeland finished 33.3% (23-69) for the game.
Owens is now 24-4 overall for the season and will now advance to the District I championship tomorrow at 12 PM from the Maxwell Center on the campus of Ohio Christian University. They will play the winner of the Edison State/Sinclair game.