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The John Hardin Bulldogs don’t like to lose but they will be able to use Saturday’s 75-69 in overtime to the Henderson County Colonels in LaRue County’s Corky Cox Classic as a good early season learning experience.
The Bulldogs, playing their season opener, only had four practices with their football players prior to the game. Starting guards Patrick Anderson and Elijah Smith played despite the lack of practice time. Senior forward Daveon Greene sat out the first two quarters because of disciplinary reasons.
“We never expect to lose, but we’re not going to make excuses,” said John Hardin senior point guard Brandon Price, who had 21 points, six assists and four rebounds. “We’ll take the loss, move on and get better from it. We only had the football players a few days, but we showed mental toughness. We didn’t fold and we battled.”
John Hardin shot 44.4 percent from the field despite misfiring on 17 of its 22 3-pointers. Anderson scored 15 points and Smith 11, while Greene had 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
“I was pleased with what we were doing offensively,” John Hardin coach Mark Wells said. “We executed pretty good. We’ve only had like four practices with our full team. They are a great basketball team. They work hard and I thought they outworked us.”
As pleased as Wells was with his team’s offense, he was on the other end of the spectrum about their defensive effort. The Colonels made 60.9 percent of their 46 shots and they held a 36-22 rebounding advantage, including 15 offensive boards.
“We really didn’t play well defensively,” Anderson said. “We need to play much better. We didn’t block out. They probably outrebounded us by a thousand. We need to work on rebounding. The guards have to help out. We didn’t do that. We need to work in practice and get better.”
The Bulldogs took a 16-14 lead on a three-point play by Price with 48.5 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Price made another runner in the lane and Anderson hit all three free throws after being fouled on a 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left to build a 21-15 lead.
John Hardin led for more than 23 minutes until Henderson County grabbed a 64-63 advantage with 1:17 left. David Simmons made a layup and was fouled. He missed the free throw, but Kaleb Duckworth grabbed the rebound and put it back in for the lead.
Trailing 65-63, Price made two free throws with 11-.7 seconds remaining to force overtime.
John Hardin jumped out to a 69-65 lead and could have been up more if not for two missed free throws.
“It seemed like we were one free throw or one rebound away from being able to win the basketball game,” Wells said. “But give them credit. They made the plays. But it’s the first game. We’ve got a lot of work to do to get better.”
Henderson County rallied for a 70-69 lead and then Price was called for a charge with 46.6 seconds left. The Colonels made 5-of-8 free throws to seal the win.
“It’s going to take some time to get our execution and timing down,” Anderson said. “No excuses. They beat us. We’ll just have to go even harder in practice and get back at it.”
HENDERSONCOUNTY75, JOHN HARDIN 69
Henderson County15 21 15 14 10—75
John Hardin 21 20 12 12 4—69
D.J. Smith 17, Kaleb Duckworth 13, Cain Cooper 10, David Simmons 9, Hunter Comer 9, D.J. Washington 8, Bryce Crowley 6, Jalen Grimes 2, Brady Norman 1. FG: 28-46. FT: 15-37. 3-pointers: 4-11 (Smith 2-6, Crowley 2-3, Rick Armstead 0-2). Rebs: 36 (Duckworth 10). Assists: 7 (Washington 3).
John Hardin (0-1)
Brandon Price 21, Patrick Anderson 15, Daveon Greene 12, Elijah Smith 11, Keon Williams 5, Ricky Burns 2, Matt Miller 2, Adryan Jackson 1. FG: 20-45. FT: 24-34. 3-pointers: 5-22 (Smith 3-6, Anderson 2-7, Price 0-4, Williams 0-4, Miller 0-1). Rebs: 22 (Price 4, Williams 4, Burns 4). Assists: 11 (Price 6).
UP NEXT: John Hardin hosts Fort Knox at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Chuck Jones can be reached at (270) 505-1759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.