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John Hardin senior forward Daveon Greene looked up at the scoreboard in the third quarter and he wasn’t in his comfort zone. When he glanced at it again, he felt a little better about his team’s chances.
The Bulldogs turned a two-point halftime lead into a 16-point advantage 4 minutes into the second half and they cruised from there to a 75-56 victory over the Central Hardin Bruins in a 17th District game on Terry Buckles Court at Bruin Gym.
“I looked up at the scoreboard and we were up by like two or three,” Greene said. “I was not OK with that. I couldn’t be comfortable with that. This was a big district game and we want to be at the top of the district. Brandon (Price) and I took it upon ourselves. It’s our job as senior leaders of a very experienced team to lead the team.”
Price and Greene did exactly that. The duo combined for more points than Central Hardin’s entire team. Price made 13-of-18 shots from the field on his way to a 33-point performance, while Greene was 12-of-13 from the field to finish with 26 points.
Both players posted double-doubles. Greene pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds – only five less than the Bruins had. Price dished out 10 assists, the first time he’s reached double digits this season.
“They’re senior leaders,” John Hardin coach Mark Wells said. “We ask a lot of them. We put a lot on their table because we’re still trying to figure out who we are as a team. We are trying to get everyone on the same page, but until we do, they are good at covering up a lot of mistakes.”
The Bruins (3-2, 1-1 in district) didn’t have an answer for Price or Greene. They switched zone defenses and even went to man-to-man at times, but Price found the openings in the defense or found Greene in the paint for easy baskets.
“Price is a heckuva player,” Central Hardin coach J.C. Wright said. “He sees the floor so well. If there’s a better point guard in the state, I’d like to see him. Greene was an animal. He took it to us. He went to the offensive boards hard.”
Leading 31-28 with 7:35 left in the third quarter, Greene made a layup off a Price assist and then Price drove in for a layup, prompting Wright to call a timeout.
After junior guard Patrick Anderson made a layup, Price scored eight consecutive points and then Anderson fed Greene inside for a layup to push the lead to 47-31 with 4:03 remaining.
“The first half we were playing right into their hands,” Price said. “No question about it. We started attacking in the second half. We quit shooting bad shots and we were more aggressive. That opened other things up for us as well.”
The Bulldogs (3-1, 2-0) shot 64.5 percent (20-of-31) from the field in the second half after making only 13-of-31 the first two quarters. Price led the charge, hitting 8-of-10 shots. Greene made all six of his attempts, while junior forward Keon Williams, who scored 12 points, was 5-of-10.
“We started slow,” Greene said. “We were sluggish in the first half. Coach got mad at us at halftime and we started being more aggressive the second half. I felt like that’s when we took control.”
Central Hardin pulled within 11 with 3 minutes left in the third quarter, but Price scored four straight points and Greene had a tip-in at the buzzer to stretch the lead to 53-39. John Hardin led by 14 or more the entire fourth quarter.
“I think we had better ball movement,” Wells said. “We got the ball inside either off the dribble or with the pass. I think we went to the offensive glass much better. Instead of standing around watching, we went and got rebounds in the second half. We weren’t in the flow the first half, but you have to credit Central Hardin. They did a good job with their zones.”
John Hardin pulled out to a 15-6 lead in the first 6 minutes before the Bruins used an 11-0 run to take a 17-15 lead – their only one of the game – with 7 minutes left in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs led by as many as seven in the quarter, but Central Hardin junior Jacob Barnes scored five straight points to close the gap to 29-27 at halftime.
“The first half we were in foul trouble,” Price said. “We were getting good traps, but we were fouling. It’s what we call dumb aggressive. We played better in the second half. I told them John Hardin always struggles with Central Hardin and we can’t let that keep happening.”
Central Hardin senior Cody Elmore scored 21 points, hitting five 3-pointers. But no other Bruin reached double figures. Senior Troy Squires dished out seven assists. Wright was pleased with his team’s offense, but not with its 26 turnovers.
“I thought we did some good things when we took care of the basketball,” Wright said. “We missed some easy shots, but we moved the ball and made outside shots. We knew they’d bring a lot of pressure. We didn’t take care of the basketball. We weathered that early storm. I liked the way we kept our composure. But we didn’t match their play in the quarter. But I can’t fault the kids’ effort. I liked the way they fought and battled.”
UP NEXT: John Hardin hosts North Hardin at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the second game of a girl/boy doubleheader. Central Hardin plays Cumberland County at 4:15 p.m. Saturday in McDonald’s Hoopin It Up Classic at Adair County.
Chuck Jones can be reached at (270) 505-1759 or firstname.lastname@example.org
JOHN HARDIN 75
CENTRAL HARDIN 56
John Hardin 15 14 24 22—75
Central Hardin 15 12 12 17—56
Team FG FT R TP
John Hardin 33-62 9-13 39 75
Central Hardin 19-41 9-18 19 56
Player FG FT R TP
Price 13-18 7-8 3 33
Anderson 1-11 0-1 7 2
Smith 0-3 0-0 2 0
Williams 6-14 0-0 6 12
Greene 12-13 2-4 14 26
Miller 0-2 0-0 1 0
Burns 0-0 0-0 1 0
Jackson 1-1 0-0 3 2
Player FG FT R TP
Kerr 0-0 3-6 3 3
Squires 3-11 0-1 3 6
Elmore 6-6 4-4 2 21
Crowder 2-9 0-2 2 5
McCullough 2-7 1-2 4 6
Barnes 3-5 0-0 1 8
Glenn 3-3 1-3 1 7
3-POINTERS: JOHN HARDIN (0-12): Brandon Price 0-3, Patrick Anderson 0-3, Elijah Smith 0-3, Matt Miller 0-2, Keon Williams 0-1. CENTRAL HARDIN (9-20): Cody Elmore 5-5, Jacob Barnes 2-4, Tyler McCullough 1-2, Alex Crowder 1-4, Troy Squires 0-5. ASSISTS: JOHN HARDIN (15): Brandon Price 10, Patrick Anderson 4, Adryan Jackson 1. CENTRAL HARDIN (16): Troy Squires 7, Alex Crowder 4, Andy Kerr 3, Cody Elmore 1, Jacob Barnes 1.