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Few basketball teams in Kentucky can match the John Hardin boys when they’re hot.
Just ask the Grayson County Cougars.
The 10th-ranked Bulldogs were red-hot, shooting a sizzling 55.1 percent from the field Friday night on their way to a dominating 90-46 win over the Cougars at the Dawg Pound.
“We just wanted to come out and have fun,” said John Hardin junior Keon Williams, who led the way with 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting. “We got back to defense first and that got us going on offense. We shared the ball and assisted well. We just had fun a team.”
John Hardin rolled to its 10th consecutive victory. It’s the third consecutive season the Bulldogs have had a winning streak of 10 or more games.
The Bulldogs made 38-of-69 shots from the field. They worked the ball around Grayson County’s 2-3 zone for easy shots, leading to 20 assists. Senior point guard Brandon Price dished out 10, while junior guard Patrick Anderson had seven.
“We really penetrated their zone and that opened things up for everybody,” Anderson said. “We penetrated and kicked the ball out to guards for open shots or inside for layups. We did a lot better than we did against E’town.”
John Hardin struggled against Elizabethtown’s 1-3-1 and 2-3 zones in Tuesday’s 68-65 overtime win. Attacking a zone was an emphasis in practice Wednesday and Thursday.
“Against a zone, they want you to stand still and jack up 3s,” said Price, who scored 19 points. “We can shot 3s, but we’re at our best when we’re going to the basket. We did a good job of getting to the basket and not settling for shots.”
Senior Daveon Greene had 18 points and senior Johannesburg Boulware chipped in eight points off the bench. Senior Ricky Burns matched Greene with a team-high six rebounds.
The Bulldogs outrebounded the Cougars, 42-18, and forced them into 21 turnovers as this game was dramatically different from last season.
Since losing at Grayson County, 81-74 in overtime on Feb. 3, 2012, the Bulldogs have won 29 of their last 33 games. They closed last year winning 11 straight before falling in the state quarterfinals to Scott County, and they are 18-3 this season.
Meanwhile, Grayson County (8-14) dropped sixth straight, including four by 19 or more points.
But this was the most lopsided as John Hardin took control early, building an 18-4 lead after six consecutive points from Price. Grayson County coach Caleb Smith called two 30-second timeouts in the first 6 minutes, but nothing slowed the Bulldogs.
Leading by 15, the Bulldogs opened the second quarter with a 13-0 run with Williams scoring five points and Greene and Price each had four to stretch the lead to 35-7 with 5:21 left before halftime.
“We came into this game with a couple of goals,” John Hardin coach Mark Wells said. “We wanted to be ready to play. We wanted to execute and attack because we figured they’d play a zone. And we wanted to play unselfish.
“I thought we were stagnant against E’town,” he added. “We passed the ball or held it too long. We just played tonight and didn’t allow it to slow us down.”
John Hardin led by 23 at halftime and by 38 after three quarters to start the KHSAA-mandated running clock.
JOHN HARDIN 90, GRAYSON COUNTY 46
Grayson County 7 15 13 11—46
John Hardin 22 23 28 17—71
Talon Gary 14, Braxton Williams 9, Lane Rackley 7, Gage Akridge 6, Lane Decker 5, Logan Ramsey 5. FG: 17-41. FT: 5-10. 3-pointers: 7-21 (Gary 3-5, Akridge 2-6, Decker 1-2, Ramsey 1-1, Rance Whobrey 0-4, B.J. Johnston 0-1, Wyatt Skaggs 0-1, Williams 0-1). Rebs: 18 (Gary 4). Assists: 9 (Ramsey 3).
John Hardin (18-3)
Keon Williams 22, Brandon Price 19, Daveon Greene 18, Patrick Anderson 9, Johannesburg Boulware 8, Elijah Smith 4, Matt Miller 4, Brock Bruner 2, Dimitri Cooper 2, Adryan Jackson 2. FG: 38-69. FT: 9-13. 3-pointers: 5-17 (Williams 3-5, Price 1-4, Anderson 1-2, Smith 0-4, Gabe Montgomery 0-1, Marcus Goree 0-1). Rebs: 42 (Greene 6, Ricky Burns 6). Assists: 20 (Price 10).
UP NEXT: John Hardin hosts Elizabethtown at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
Chuck Jonescan be reached at (270) 505-1759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.