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Central Hardin put an end to 17th District rival Elizabethtown’s six-game winning streak.
The Bruins managed to hang on and pull off a surprising regular-season sweep.
Elizabethtown had three chances to win in the final 15 seconds but failed to convert as Central Hardin earned a 60-59 victory Friday night at Bruin Gym.
It gave the Bruins (7-5, 2-2 district) their first regular-season sweep of the Panthers (7-3, 0-2) since the 2008-09 season.
Central Hardin led 58-52 with 2:44 remaining, then held onto that advantage for dear life.
Panthers sophomore center Zane Najdawi scored on a putback to cut the deficit to four before junior guard Ryan Harris scored on a layup to make it 58-56 with 51.2 seconds left.
Bruins senior guard Troy Squires, who scored 12 of his 15 points from the arc, was fouled and hit both foul shots to push the lead to 60-56 with 44.6 seconds to go. But Elizabethtown junior guard Ja’Von Cotton, who scored a game-high 20 points, drained a 3-pointer with 36 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to one.
On Central Hardin’s ensuing possession, Cotton forced a loose ball and called a timeout before being tied up – giving the the Panthers ball with 21.9 seconds to go.
After the timeout, Elizabethtown inbounded the ball but Central Hardin senior guard Alex Crowder forced a tie-up with 13.3 seconds remaining to give the Bruins the ball.
Crowder, who finished with a team-high 16 points, was fouled on the inbounds and missed the front end of a one-and-one. Najdawi secured the rebound and moved the ball upcourt but the Panthers were called for travelling with 5.8 seconds to go.
Elizabethtown had one last chance, though.
Harris stole Central Hardin’s inbounds pass in the left corner, and with time running down, forced a 3 between two defenders, but it bounced off the back of the rim and onto the right side before Crowder got to it with half a second remaining to secure the win.
Junior forward Dillon Glenn added 12 points and four rebounds for Central Hardin.
Elizabethtown senior forward Chas Jones scored 14, while junior forward Dominique Harding had eight. Najdawi scored eight points and had 11 rebounds despite being plagued in foul trouble for three quarters.
UP NEXT: Elizabethtown hosts Fort Knox at 7:30 p.m. Monday. Central Hardin plays at John Hardin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
John Grothcan be reached at (270) 505-1754 or firstname.lastname@example.org.