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BOYS' PREP BASKETBALL: LaRue drops season opener (12/2)

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By Chuck Jones

Playing without a starter is difficult enough, but when it’s the season opener against a quality team playing its third game, it becomes a monumental challenge.

The LaRue County Hawks found that out Saturday night.

The Hawks, who were already replacing three starters from last season, were without senior point guard Kelton Ford, who didn’t dress for the game. LaRue County coach Paul Childress said Ford should return next week.

Without Ford, the Madisonville-North Hopkins Maroons took control in the first quarter and never looked back, rolling to a 61-45 victory over the Hawks in the final game of LaRue County’s Corky Cox Classic.

“Obviously it changes the way we play,” Childress said. “It changes how we play after practicing one way. But it gave other guys a great opportunity to step into new roles. If Putty (Ford) is in foul trouble or gets hurt, we might have to play without him. It’s the first game of the season and we saw a lot of positives to build on.”

Sophomore guard Micah Wiseman scored 14 points, making 4-of-10 3-pointers. Junior forward Tyler Howell had nine points and nine rebounds.

After a 3-pointer by junior guard Thomas Harman, the Maroons reeled off nine consecutive points to build a 13-3 lead with 4:20 remaining in the first quarter. Wiseman and Kody Key-Close nailed 3-pointers, but the Maroons used an 8-0 spurt to stretch the lead to 23-9 with 41 seconds left.

It didn’t get any better the second quarter for the Hawks, who went nearly 6 minutes between baskets. Madisonville-North Hopkins took advantage, building a 38-16 halftime lead.

The Hawks shot only 34.8 percent from the field and half of their 16 field goals were 3-pointers. In the first half, they were 6-of-27 from the field.

“I think we were a little bit anxious,” Childress said. “They are pretty athletic and they sped us up. Their guards are physical and we ended up rushing things. We missed shots early on. I’m really proud of them. I think we relaxed more the second half and outplayed them. I’m not worried. We just have to be more consistent.”

LaRue County cut the lead to 13 on a Wiseman 3-pointer with 2:47 remaining in the third quarter, but the Maroons used a 15-5 run to push the lead to 55-32 with 5:20 remaining.

MADISONVILLE-NORTH HOPKINS 61, LARUE COUNTY 45

Madisonville-NH    23     15      6    17—61

LaRue County      11      5     11    18—45

Madisonville-North Hopkins (2-1)

Ross Thomas 14, Daylyn Jones 11, Iran White 10, Michael Soder 9, Alex Gray 6, Jaiveon Eaves 5, Matthew Fisher 4, Johron Jackson 2. FG: 21-53. FT: 15-21. 3-pointers: 4-11 (Gray 2-2, Soder 1-3, Eaves 1-2, White 0-2, Jones 0-2). Rebs: 40 (Fisher 7). Assists: 8 (White 3).

LaRue County (0-1)

Micah Wiseman 14, Tyler Howell 9, Thomas Harman 7, Kody Key-Close 7, Dustin Coulter 6, Jackson Venegas 2. FG: 16-46. FT: 5-11. 3-pointers: 8-20 (Wiseman 4-10, Key-Close 2-6, Harman 1-2, Howell 1-1, Coutler 0-1). Rebs: 28 (Howell 9). Assists: 6 (Harman 2, Key-Close 2).

UP NEXT: LaRue County plays at Breckinridge County at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Chuck Jones can be reached at (270) 505-1759 or cjones@thenewsenterprise.com.