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All John Hardin senior forward Daveon Greene had to do to get motivated for Monday’s night rematch with the Elizabethtown Panthers was remember the first meeting.
In that game, Greene was limited to six points before fouling out in the fourth quarter. He managed only four rebounds, while his counterpart, sophomore Zane Najdawi, had a double-double.
Greene made his presence felt this time around, scoring a game-high 31 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to lead the eighth-ranked Bulldogs to a 76-65 victory in a 17th District game at John Hardin’s Dawg Pound.
“This game, I got into the flow,” said Greene, who made 13-of-16 shots. “Last game I was focused on different things, this time I was just focused on the game. This game meant a lot to me.”
The game didn’t mean much in terms of the district standings. John Hardin (19-3) finished a perfect 8-0 and will be the top seed for the postseason tournament, while Elizabethtown (13-9) ended up 3-5 and will be the fourth seed.
The Bulldogs, who won their 11th straight, had plenty of offense outside of Greene. Senior point guard Brandon Price scored 19 points, while junior guard Patrick Anderson added 17. The key, though, was getting Greene involved.
“Someone of his size, he’s hard to stop,” said Price, who dished out eight assists. “Everyone says I’m the one who makes the team go, but it all starts with Daveon. It’s much easier when he’s scoring like that because it opens things up for the guards. He opens up driving lanes because he demands so much attention.”
Senior Chas Jones paced the Panthers with 17 points and five assists. Najdawi had another double-double with 15 points and 10 boards, while junior guard Ja’Von Cotton scored 15 points.
Elizabethtown junior Nic McDonald appeared to sustain a hip injury within the first 2 minutes and didn’t return. Elizabethtown coach James Haire declined to comment after the game.
Leading 14-13 in a back-and-fourth game, Anderson drained a 3-pointer from the left baseline with 29 seconds left in the first quarter and then Greene took over. He scored 10 of John Hardin’s first 11 points of the second quarter to help the Bulldogs stretch the lead to 28-20 with 4:22 left before halftime.
“It was motivation on his part,” John Hardin coach Mark Wells said. “We got on him after that game and we challenged him to play better. He came out and played much stronger this time.”
Greene wasn’t finished. Greene and Anderson combined to score John Hardin’s first 12 points of the third quarter as the Bulldogs turned a seven-point halftime lead into a 13-point margin with 3:46 left.
“They beat us out of the third quarter in the last game,” Greene said. “They came out with more intensity and did things better than us. We came out and hit a couple of shots, forcing them to call a time out. We kept the intensity up the whole game this time.”
John Hardin led by 10 or more points the final 10:07 of the game after Price and Greene had back-to-back layups to push the lead to 53-40.
Greene scored 12 points in the fourth quarter to keep the Panthers at bay and offset the 13 points Jones scored in the final 8 minutes.
UP NEXT: John Hardin plays at Jeffersontown at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Elizabethtown hosts Louisville Male at 7:30 tonight.
Chuck Jonescan be reached at (270) 505-1759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.