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North Hardin weathered John Hardin’s initial surge, even coming back to take a lead, but the Bulldogs’ final spurt was the one that did in the Trojans.
Leading by two points early in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs closed the game with a 21-12 run to come away with a hard-fought 63-52 victory over North Hardin on Friday night in a 17th District game at Ron Bevars Gymnasium.
John Hardin (14-3, 5-0 district) extended its winning streak to six. With the victory, the Bulldogs can finish no worse than the second seed for next month’s district tournament.
Senior forward Daveon Greene led the Bulldogs with 17 points, six rebounds and three assists before leaving the game with a right shoulder injury with 5:29 left. Junior forward Keon Williams had 14 points and six rebounds, while junior guard Patrick Anderson had 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Senior point guard Brandon Price played for the first time since spraining an ankle against Ohio County on Dec. 30. Price showed signs of rust, scoring only six points on 3-of-13 shooting, but he dished out a game-high five assists.
North Hardin (14-7, 3-3) was paced by sophomore guard Tyronn King, who had 16 points and two assists. Senior guard Scotty Sterusky added 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while senior center Tyler Landry had eight points and 10 rebounds.
The Bulldogs built a 14-3 lead less than 6 minutes into the game. They did it with their defense, forcing eight turnovers. Greene sparked the run with six points and an assist to Anderson for a layup.
Trailing 22-10 with 5:02 remaining, the Trojans sliced the lead to four at halftime and Sterusky scored seven points to open the second half to give North Hardin a 30-29 lead – its first since 3-2.
Anderson scored the next four points, and after senior guard Ruben Gosa made 2-of-4 free throws, senior Adryan Jackson converted a three-point play to lift John Hardin to a 36-32 lead with 2:59 remaining.
North Hardin, though, pulled within 42-40 on a putback by King 30 seconds into the fourth quarter, and had a chance to tie or take the lead but missed a 3-pointer.
The Bulldogs began to pull away on back-to-back layups by Greene and Price. After a short runner by junior forward Khalil Rasheed, Greene made consecutive baskets, crashing to the ground after getting fouled hard on the second one. Freshman guard Matt Miller came off the bench to make the free throw to push the lead to 51-42 with 5:29 left.
Price buried a 15-footer to stretch the lead to 11, and after Rasheed hit two free throws, sophomore guard Elijah Smith and Anderson made consecutive layups to take a 57-44 lead. John Hardin led by 10 or more the final 3:50 of the game.
UP NEXT: John Hardin plays at Fort Knox at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. North Hardin hosts Elizabethtown at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Chuck Jonescan be reached at (270) 505-1759 or email@example.com