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Elizabethtown and Central Hardin kick off their 17th District seasons at 7:30 tonight when the Panthers and Bruins meet at E'town High's Charles Rawlings Memorial Gymnasium.
Elizabethtown (1-1) has won five of the last seven meetings, including both games last year.
But it’s the Bruins (2-1) who are coming in with all the momentum.
Central Hardin beat Grayson County, 64-62 on Tuesday as senior guard Cody Elmore, who scored a team-high 17 points, buried a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left to lift the Bruins. Junior center Matt Whitehouse added 15 points, while senior guard Troy Squires had a double-double (10 points and 12 assists).
The Bruins have hit 20-of-60 (30 percent) from 3-point range this season and are shooting close to 50 percent from the field overall.
“I thought against West Jessamine we took too many 3s and didn’t look enough inside. Then, we come back against Grayson County and had a pretty good balance of 3-point shooting and inside. Alex (Crowder) and Tyler (McCullough) played about 12 minutes against Grayson County. They were in foul trouble and Matt stepped in,” said Bruins coach J.C. Wright. “We’ve got to be able to get the ball inside to Tyler and Dillon (Glenn) and Alex. We’ve got three guys in there that can come in and work the paint area.”
Elizabethtown suffered a 66-58 loss at Bowling Green on Tuesday. Junior forward Ja’Von Cotton (16), sophomore forward/center Zane Najdawi (12), senior forward Chas Jones (11) and junior guard Nic McDonald (10) each scored in double figures. But the Panthers hit just 14-of-32 (33.3 percent) shots from the field and went 2-of-10 (20 percent) from 3-point range.
“One thing we don’t need is to turn the ball over. We need to do a better job of protecting the basketball,” said Elizabethtown coach James Haire. “Central Hardin shoots lot of 3s. We need to defend them. We need to do a better job of defending and rebounding.”
Wright expects another physical game, especially with players like Cotton and Najdawi inside.
“Elizabethtown has good post play. They’re big inside,” Wright said. “They’re good balanced team. They’ll be a tough task for us tomorrow night.”
In other action:
nJohn Hardin (1-1) travels to Bardstown (0-1) for an intriguing 5th Region matchup at 7:30 tonight. The Bulldogs have won three of the last five meetings, including a 74-66 victory in last year’s region championship game.
John Hardin earned its first win this season with a 78-42 victory over district foe Fort Knox on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs shared the ball much better than they did in a 75-69 season-opening overtime loss to Henderson County last Saturday in the Corky Cox Classic at LaRue County. They totaled an assist on nearly every other basket (16 on 31) and also made more than 50 percent of their shots.
Junior guard Patrick Anderson scored a team-high 23 points, while junior forward Keon Williams (16 points, nine rebounds), senior guard Brandon Price (13) and senior forward Daveon Green (11) also hit double figures.
Bardstown is coming off a 63-54 loss at South Oldham on Tuesday.
nLaRue County (0-2) heads to Hart County (1-2, 1-1 18th District) in the second game of a girl/boy doubleheader at 8 tonight.
The Hawks have dominated this series, recording 12 straight wins and 13 of the last 15. The Raiders haven’t beaten LaRue County since March 2, 2007, a 59-48 victory in the district tournament final.
LaRue County has won all but two games by double digits and three straight by 20 points or more.
The Hawks suffered a 58-56 loss at Breckinridge County on Tuesday. Senior guard Kelton Ford returned and recorded a double-double (17 points and 10 rebounds), while junior forward Kody Key-Close had nine points and nine rebounds. LaRue County led 42-35 after three quarters, but the Fighting Tigers outscored the Hawks, 23-14 in the fourth quarter to earn the win.
The Raiders earned their first win Tuesday, defeating district rival Green County, 66-61 at home. They lost to district foe Caverna, 66-40 last week.
nIt’s a battle of two teams starting in opposite directions Saturday night. North Hardin (3-0) puts its undefeated record on the line as the Trojans host Louisville Fern Creek (0-3) in the Cameron Irvin Classic at 7 p.m.
North Hardin beat Louisville Western, 57-41 on Tuesday as junior Khalil Rasheed (11 points) and senior guard Ruben Gosa (10) each finished in double figures. Senior guard Nick Lewis added nine points and six rebounds.
After losses to Louisville schools Seneca and Valley, Fern Creek suffered a 67-46 home loss to Louisville Moore on Tuesday. The Tigers play Louisville Fairdale tonight before heading to Radcliff on Saturday.
The teams haven’t met in more than five years, when North Hardin beat Fern Creek, 65-62 on Jan. 6, 2007.
nOther teams playing this weekend are: Meade County at Campbellsville at 7:30 tonight and North Hardin Christian in the Somerset Christian Tournament tonight and Saturday.
John Grothcan be reached at (270) 505-175 or email@example.com.