A hoops reunion – second generation

Published 4:05 pm Friday, June 8, 2018

Rivals in the 1980s when both were 13th Region basketball stars, Monica Owens led Cumberland to the state tournament in 1986 as a senior and Debbie Hoskins Green matched that achievement at Harlan the next year.

The two then became teammates at Lincoln Memorial University and played on several outstanding squads in the late 80s and early 90s.

Green and Owens were on opposite sides again Wednesday, but this was a much more friendly rivalry as each were in Louisville to watch their daughters play in the Senior-Junior All-Star Game at St. Xavier High School.

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Green’s daughter, Blair, is a key member of the senior squad that will play Indiana in a two-game series this weekend, first at Bellarmine College in Louisville on Friday and then on to Indianapolis on Saturday. Green, a Kentucky All-Star like her mother, will play at the University of Kentucky next season.

Maaliya Owens, a standout at Scott County High School in Georgetown, was a leader of the junior squad. She is also being recruited by several colleges, including Morehead, Eastern, Murray, Tenneseee Tech, Middle Tennesee, Florida International and LMU.

“It’s really been awesome to reconnect with Monica,” Green said. “We have always stayed in touch on and off over the years, but we talk on a more regular basis now since Blair and Maaliya have been in high school. We talk a lot about the girls’ training, recruiting, camps, travel ball and just supporting the girls.

“It’s really great to have each other, including Patti (Myers Morris — mother of current UK star Maci Morris. Patti Morris played with Green at Harlan and then went on to Transylvania), someone you can trust for advice and also genuinely share in the excitement of our daughters’ success.”

“It was an awesome experience being in the gym with my former teammate, watching our girls play the sport that we love so much,” said Monica Owens. “Debbie and I have remained close since college and our relationship has definitely grown stronger since our daughters have been playing high school basketball. We always go to support her team when she is playing in the Lexington area, so we see them at least a couple of times during each basketball season.”

Green, Seygan Robbins and Grace Berger each scored 14 points as the senior team defeated the juniors 113-93. Owens scored 13, along with Nila Blackford and Jasmin Elder, to lead the junior squad.

“Maaliya is a great player. She reminds me of Monica the way she carries herself on the court,” Green said. “She’s a great teammate and leader as Monica always was, but Monica was a true point guard (in college). She really ran the show on the court, and her focus was putting her teammates in position to score.

“When she looked at stats she probably looked at her assist-to-turnover ratio. She was a very smart player. Maaliya is more of a scorer. She plays point and two guard, and she shoots the ball very deep and can get to the rim. She’ll do really well at the next level. She’s extremely coachable. It was great to see her and Blair compete against each other.”

“Last night was pretty special,” Owens said. “Harlan County girls – first opponents, then teammates, now friends watching our girls carry on the legacy of the game we love both love so much. Blessed is all I can say.”