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LaRue County’s little man kept the Hawks in the game Tuesday night, while the North Hardin Trojans’ big man kept them undefeated.
Tyler Landry, North Hardin’s 6-foot-6 senior center, posted yet another double to help the visiting Trojans overcome a huge night from LaRue County senior point guard Kelton Ford in a 60-51 win over their 5th Region rival.
Landry grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds and matched sophomore guard Tyronn King with a team-high 14 points as the Trojans (5-0) stayed on their hottest start since opening the 2009-10 season with nine straight wins.
Not only did the Trojans’ win streak stay in tact, but North Hardin was also able to redeem itself from its home loss to the Hawks last season, which was the Trojans’ first loss to LaRue County since 1994-95. That loss ignited an eight-game losing streak for the Trojans.
Landry pointed to the Trojans’ camaraderie as one of the reasons for their surge.
“Last year, not a lot of people got along,” he said. “This year, we’re all friends. We all hang out and we’re having fun.”
North Hardin had fun early Tuesday, holding the Hawks to just four points in the first quarter and matching its largest lead of the first half at 14-6 with 7:15 to play before halftime on a basket by Landry.
“That was my fault,” said Ford, who had 27 points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals. “I wasn’t making any shots or making any plays. But once I started making shots, I started getting my teammates involved.”
Ford started making shots in a hurry, scoring 15 of his team’s 17 points over the final 6:45 of the second quarter to send the Hawks into the half up 23-20.
“I think the biggest difference in the second half was our defense,” said veteran North Hardin coach Ron Bevars. “In the first half, we did a poor job of finding Ford and helping out on him. He’s a good player.”
At the start of the second half, North Hardin put senior guard Ruben Gosa on Ford. Gosa slowed him down enough as Ford missed 6-of-9 shots from the field after the break, including making just 1-of-5 attempts from the arc after canning 2-of-3 during his second-quarter bonanza.
“They turned up their defensive pressure on me and started keying on me a lot more,” Ford said.
Not many of his teammates took the offensive pressure off Ford. Junior forward Kody Key-Close, who had 12 points, was the only other Hawk to make more than one field goal.
“We felt pretty good at halftime,” said eighth-year LaRue County coach Paul Childress. “We knew it would be tough and it was. We’re still trying to find guys who can step in and play. We’re still searching.”
North Hardin, meanwhile, found plenty of complements to Landry.
King added six rebounds. Gosa finished with 12 points, two assists and two steals, senior guard Nick Lewis had nine points and two assists and senior guard Scotty Sterusky scored nine points.
“We share the basketball,” Landry said. “We’re good about getting on the break and finding the open man.”
Too many times for the Hawks, that open man was Landry. While three North Hardin players missed at least seven shots each, Landry was 6-of-9.
“I just go out, give it my all and attack the glass,” Landry said. “And my teammates are really good at getting me the ball when I’m open.”
LaRue County found enough openings in the Trojans’ defense to take two leads in the fourth quarter at 38-36 and 40-38. But a spin move and layup by Landry tied it at 40 with 5:34 left and the Trojans never trailed the rest of the way as Landry’s bucket started a 12-0 run. The Hawks drew no closer than six points the rest of the way.
Landry had four points in the spurt and never seemed to wear despite being the only player other than Ford to play all 32 minutes.
“That’s too many minutes for him, but we just don’t have anyone right now to step in,” Bevars said. “But Tyler has come such a long way as a basketball player.”
NORTH HARDIN 60, LARUE COUNTY 51
North Hardin 10 10 16 24—60
LaRue County 4 19 10 18—51
North Hardin (5-0)
Tyronn King 14, Tyler Landry 14, Ruben Gosa 12, Nick Lewis 9, Scotty Sterusky 9, Khalil Rasheed 2. FG: 22-52. FT: 14-22. 3-pointers: 2-10 (Gosa 1-6, King 1-2, Rasheed 0-1, Sterusky 0-1). Rebs: 35 (Landry 14, King 6). Assists: 8 (Gosa 2, King 2, Lewis 2). Steals: 7 (King 3, Gosa 2).
LaRue County (1-3)
Kelton Ford 27, Kody Key-Close 12, Dustin Coulter 3, Micah Wiseman 3, Thomas Harman 2, Tyler Howell 2, Jackson Venegas 2. FG: 18-43. FT: 10-17. 3-pointers: 5-15 (Ford 3-8, Key-Close 1-2, Harman 0-2, Gabe Shirley 0-2, Wiseman 1-1). Rebs: 30 (Howell 8, Ford 6). Assists: 8 (Ford 5). Steals: 6 (Ford 5).
UP NEXT: North Hardin plays at John Hardin at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the second game of a girl/boy doubleheader. LaRue County hosts Caverna at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the second game of a girl/boy doubleheader.
Nathaniel Bryan can be reached at (270) 505-1758 or firstname.lastname@example.org.