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It’s early in the 17th District schedule, but tonight’s matchup between John Hardin and Central Hardin could be a pivotal one.
Both teams, who meet at 7:30 tonight at Central Hardin, enter with 1-0 district records. John Hardin beat Fort Knox last week, while Central Hardin is coming off a 63-56 win over Elizabethtown.
“It’s an important game as each game in the 17th (District) is, but we’re trying to keep things in perspective,” Central Hardin coach J.C. Wright said. “Nothing is easy in the 17th (District). We have to keep working on our offensive and defensive principles. We have to keep getting better and working for our team goals.”
John Hardin coach Mark Wells said his team can’t pay too much attention to the early district standings like the Bulldogs did last year, especially after a 56-54 overtime loss to Central Hardin in December.
“With our situation, we can’t get too caught up with the district standings,” Wells said. “Last year early in the season we got too caught up with that. When we lost to Central Hardin, it hit us pretty hard and we got frustrated. We look at it from this perspective: Every (district) game is important, but we have to focus on getting better.”
John Hardin (2-1) has won two straight, including a 76-71 victory over Bardstown, after a season-opening loss to Henderson County in overtime. Despite the win streak, Wells said the Bulldogs aren’t where they need to be.
“We’re experiencing growing pains,” he said. “We just got the football players back, so it’s like starting over again. We’re still figuring out who can do what.”
Like John Hardin, the Bruins (3-1) are riding a two-game winning streak. Wright said this team has surprised him by the fast start.
“I think we are playing better than I thought we would at this time,” Wright said. “We have a long ways to go, but they’re working really hard. We can put five guys out there that can lead us in scoring on a given night. We share the ball well and we play well together.”
The Bruins might not have a go-to scorer like they’ve had in previous years, but Wells said that makes them even more difficult to prepare for.
“Obviously they shoot the basketball well,” he said. “Everyone can shoot the 3, even the guys off the bench. What impresses me is how they execute their offense. I feel like they’re more dangerous because they have several kids that can score.”
John Hardin counters with the lethal combination of senior point guard Brandon Price and senior forward Daveon Greene, but the Bulldogs also get contributions from junior guard Patrick Anderson and junior forward Keon Williams.
“Price has improved from last year, if that’s possible to do,” Wright said. “He’s an amazing point guard and one of the top ones in the state. But they have more than just him. They can put five guys out there capable of scoring. We haven’t faced a team quite like them. They are a quick, athletic team that’s going to put a lot of pressure on you.”
In other action tonight:
NORTH HARDIN AT LARUE COUNTY (7:30 P.M.). The Trojans (4-0) are off to their best start since winning their first nine to start the 2009-10 season, while LaRue County (1-2) picked up its first win Friday night against Hart County. LaRue County won last year’s meeting 68-62 for its first win over North Hardin since the 1994-95 season, a span of 11 straight Trojan wins.
North Hardin’s fast start has been sparked by senior guards Ruben Gosa, Nick Lewis and Scotty Sterusky, senior center Tyler Landry, junior forward Khalil Rasheed and sophomore guard Tyronn King, all of whom have reached double figures during its winning streak.
BRECKINRIDGE COUNTY AT MEADE COUNTY (8 P.M.). Meade County (3-2, 2-0 in 11th District) has won three consecutive games since its 0-2 start. Like Meade County, Breckinridge County (4-1, 1-0) comes in on a roll, winning three straight.
After losing six straight to Breckinridge County, the Green Wave won the second meeting last season and then beat the Fighting Tigers again in the district final. Since Meade County changed districts in 2005-06, the teams have met six times for the district championship.
In girls’ action tonight:
NORTH HARDIN AT LARUE COUNTY (6 P.M.). North Hardin has won five straight against LaRue County dating back to the 1998-99 season, including a 49-46 victory last year.
The Lady Trojans (4-1) have won four straight since losing their season opener. LaRue County is off to a 3-0 start for first time since 2007-08 and the Lady Hawks haven’t won four consecutive to begin a season since the KHSAA began putting schedules online in 1998.
LOUISVILLE MERCY AT ELIZABETHTOWN (7:30 P.M.). This game features a pair of unbeatens – Elizabethtown at 5-0 and Mercy at 3-0. Mercy has won the last two meetings, including 72-61 last season. The Lady Panthers beat Mercy, 57-41 three years ago.
Elizabethtown is off to its best start since winning eight straight to start the 2010-11 season.
FORT KNOX AT JOHN HARDIN (6 P.M.). John Hardin (5-1, 1-1) will be looking for its fourth consecutive win and second straight 17th District victory, while Fort Knox (1-5, 0-2) is looking to snap a four-game losing skid.
MEADE COUNTY AT GRAYSON COUNTY (8 P.M.). Meade County (3-2) has won three straight since its 0-2 start. Grayson County (2-2) is coming off a 71-62 win over Edmonson County.
Chuck Jones can be reached at (270) 505-1759 or email@example.com.