A 1,000-point career scorer, the 5-foot-9 Owens had never made a bigger shot than she did with five seconds to play, a 3-point jumper from the corner to wipe out a two-point Union lead and in essence give the Lady Bearcats the victory.
Owens scored after hustling teammate Ale Sydnor ran down a rebound of a missed Jada Campbell 3-pointer as the clock ticked inside 10 seconds.
Union had 4.1 seconds to cover 94 feet and get a shot, but a Heather Lipps 30-footer at the buzzer was just off the mark.
“(Owens) owed me one,” VHS coach Kevin Timmons said.
Owens said the comment referred to a December 2018 tournament in which Virginia High dropped a 41-40 game.
“I missed a game-winning shot down in Charlotte and Coach Timmons told me afterwards that my missed shot didn’t lose us that game, but that one day I would hit one that really counts,” she recalled. “I just had to make this shot for my team. Once it left my hand I said, ‘Oh yeah, that’s going in.’ ”
The win sent the ’Cats into Thursday’s Region 2D semifinals against Ridgeview.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
One of four Bearcats in double figures, Owens made four 3-point jumpers and tallied 18 points to lead all scorers. Amaya Lee finished with 13 points, Madison Lockhart added 11 and Sydnor 10.
Lee made three of the Bearcats’ nine shots from beyond the arc.
Virginia High (21-4) roared out to a 20-8 lead after one period and seemingly had command of the game, but Union (13-10) fought back gallantly.
“With their length and being well coached, I knew it wasn’t over,” Timmons said.
LADY BEARS COULD HAVE WON
Union battled back immediately in the second quarter, knocking in four 3-pointers to close to within 32-31 by halftime.
With Lipps making five 3s and Jayda Smith battling like the season was on the line, the Lady Bears eventually gained three leads in the second half before the game went to overtime tied at 53.
Union’s final lead, at 56-53, came with 3:17 left in OT, but the Lady Bears failed to score from the field thereafter and missed crucial free throws along the way.
The Bears hit just 7 of 17 foul shots. The ’Cats hit 11 of 12.
“I’d like to have made a few more free throws, but really, my kids played their hearts out and I couldn’t be more proud,” said Union coach Kory Bostic. “We needed one stop at the end and give Virginia High credit for making a play.
“We’re on the road against a good team like Virginia High and we get down early, but we weathered the storm and had a chance. It’s tough, but I’m proud.”
Lipps and Smith both scored 15 points to pace Union, which hit 10 3-pointers.