- Special Sections
- Public Notices
In what was the longest Boys’ 17th District Basketball Tournament game ever, Elizabethtown survived.
Terry Jones staved off his exhaustion and put his driving skills to work. The Panthers’ senior guard took charge. He was going to go to the hole and score any way he could.
Senior forward Mitchell Henry scored a game-high 22 points, senior forward Chris McDonald had 14 and Jones added 12 to lift Elizabethtown to an 81-76 four-overtime victory over No. 9 John Hardin in Saturday night’s district championship game at Central Hardin.
They helped the Panthers capture their first district title since 2006 – and gave them their fifth district championship in the last 12 years.
“I’m tired, worn out. Four overtimes is a long, long time,” said Jones, who scored eight in the four overtimes. “After the first one, it would’ve been good enough to win in regulation time. But four overtimes makes it a lot better. It gives us a lot of momentum since we stayed with it and everything.”
They stayed with it alright, surpassing the 1985 title game – which North Hardin won 78-65 over Elizabethtown in three overtimes – as the district’s longest championship. Now, the Panthers will enter the 5th Region Tournament on a two-game winning streak after closing the regular season with four straight losses.
Elizabethtown (14-12) knocked off John Hardin (21-3) for the second time in three games this season. The Panthers dropped the Bulldogs, 74-66 on Jan. 18 to end their 13-game winning streak and hand them their first loss of the season. Now, they’ve kept them from recording only their second district title in school history.
Elizabethtown overcame a nine-point, first-quarter deficit and horrendous free-throw line struggles (29-of-47), along with McDonald out with fouls for the final 1:05 of the fourth quarter and all four overtimes.
After missing free throw after free throw for three quarters, the Panthers hit them down the stretch – going 12-of-16 from the foul line from the fourth quarter on.
Henry struggled the most, going 12-of-21 from stripe. But after three quarters of trouble, he found his rhythm and went 9-of-12 from the fourth quarter through the fourth overtime.
“I got my rhythm down. In the first half, I wasn’t missing bad. It was right off the back end of the rim,” said Henry, who scored more points from the foul line than he did from the field (10). “I just got my rhythm down. We hit our free throws down the stretch when it mattered most and we pulled it out.”
They pulled it out by taking advantage of John Hardin’s foul trouble.
At the end of regulation, three Bulldogs – senior forwards Jeff Richard and Blake Bonner and junior guard Jeremy Harness – each had four fouls and had to be careful with their defensive play.
The Panthers had a new strategy after playing the slow-down game for two overtimes: drive inside and draw contact.
Jones scored two inside baskets inside, including a game-tying layup with 4 seconds left in the third overtime to send the game to one more extra period.
Then, the seniors finally finished the game off.
Senior guard Cory Farrow gave Elizabethtown a 76-75 lead with 2:14 left in the fourth overtime before John Hardin senior guard Landon Savoy hit 1-of-2 free throws to tie the game with 57.8 seconds left.
Jones drove inside again to put the Panthers up 78-76 with 27 seconds left. Sophomore Brandon Price missed a 3, and Henry got the rebound and forced Richard to collect his fifth foul.
He made 1-of-2 free throws, and after Foster missed a 3, Farrow made both his foul shots to close out the win.
“It’s huge,” said Farrow, who scored five of his eight points in the four overtimes. “It’s a huge boost of confidence for us.”
But John Hardin coach Mark Wells acknowledged the Bulldogs were lucky to even get that far. Trailing 65-62 with less than 7 seconds in regulation, John Hardin had to drive the length of the court to tie the game. With its play nearly broken up, sophomore guard Brandon Price threw a near-crosscourt pass to junior guard Jeremy Harness in the left corner and he rimmed in a 3-pointer as time expired.
“We were very fortunate to be in overtime. Jeremy Harness came up big and the kids executed the play,” Wells said. “They kind of got rattled and Jeremy hit that shot in the corner. Jeremy came up big for us to put the game into overtime.”
Foster had 19 points, while Richard had 15 points and 15 rebounds and Price (14 points) and Harness (13) also reached double figures.
After erupting for 14 points in the first quarter, Foster was held to just five the rest of the game. Those three, along with Henry, McDonald, Jones and senior Jansen Flood were named to the all-tournament team.
“We learned it’s little things, missed block outs and free throws there,” Wells said. “Those things are what get you.”
John Groth can be reached at (270) 505-1754 or e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
JOHN HARDIN 76
Elizabethtown 13 1216 24 2 2 4 8 —81
John Hardin 19 131122 2 2 4 3—76
Team FG FT R TP
Elizabethtown 25-56 29-47 50 81
John Hardin 29-66 11-21 39 76
Player FG FT R TP
Flood 4-9 2-2 5 10
Lucas 4-9 1-2 5 9
Jones 4-11 4-6 7 12
C. McDonald 6-9 2-3 4 14
Henry 5-13 12-21 16 22
Byrd 0-2 6-9 4 6
Farrow 2-3 2-2 3 8
Scheiba 0-0 0-0 2 0
Player FG FT R TP
Harness 5-9 0-1 1 13
Price 4-12 4-6 4 14
Richard 6-10 3-4 15 15
Foster 8-21 1-2 7 19
Bonner 1-4 0-0 3 2
Savoy 3-8 3-5 1 9
Holloway 0-0 0-2 2 0
Crowe 2-2 0-1 2 4
3-POINTERS: ELIZABETHTOWN (2-14): Cory Farrow 2-3, Mitchell Henry 0-1, Bryce Byrd 0-1, Jansen Flood 0-3, Todd Lucas 0-3, Terry Jones 0-3. JOHN HARDIN (7-20): Jeremy Harness 3-6, Brandon Price 2-6, Malcom Foster 2-8. ASSISTS: ELIZABETHTOWN (10): Terry Jones 2, Mitchell Henry 2, Todd Lucas 2, Bryce Byrd 2, Chris McDonald 1, Jansen Flood 1. JOHN HARDIN (13): Malcolm Foster 5, Brandon Price 3, Landon Savoy 3, Jeff Richard 1, Jeremy Harness 1.