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GIRLS' PREP BASKETBALL: Elizabethtown, North Hardin face off in battle of region heavyweights (12/08)

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By Greg Crews

 

By GREG CREWS gcrews@thenewsenterprise.com ELIZABETHTOWN — There isn’t much love lost between the Elizabethtown Lady Panthers and the North Hardin Lady Trojans. Spoil a team’s shot at making the state tournament and that tends to happen. “Any game against them, I’m excited for,” North Hardin sophomore point guard RaeChaun Edwards said prior to the start of the season. “I don’t really like them too much.” Those feelings have had nearly nine months to simmer since the Lady Trojans had their season ended by Elizabethtown in the 5th Region Tournament championship a year after doing the same to the Lady Panthers in the 2007 region title game. Tonight, their rapidly growing rivalry will get its first installment of the new season as Elizabethtown (2-0) hosts North Hardin (2-0, 1-0 district) at 7:30 p.m. in a 17th District game. “The matchup is going to be pretty much the same thing as always. We’ve played each other eight times in the last two years, so there really aren’t any secrets at this point,” North Hardin coach James Slaven said. “They’re going to try to slow it down and make it a half-cout game and we’re going to try to make it a baseline-to-baseline game. We’re going to go out there and pressure them. We’re going to run up and down the floor. We’re going to shoot it a bunch and we’re going to try to get to 70 points. “If we can score 70 points, I think if we can beat any team in the state.” Slaven’s theory may get a good test tonight, say as Elizabethtown was ranked 3rd in the Louisville Courier-Journal and Lexington Herald-Leader preseason state coaches’ polls. North Hardin was ranked 10th by the Courier-Journal and ninth by the Herald-Leader. “I think this will be a good measuring stick of where we are right now,” Elizabethtown coach Tim Mudd said. “Regardless of what the outcome is, hopefully we will continue to get better as the season goes on. This is still early December, we have to keep this game in perspective.” Mudd certainly has a point. In both the last two season, Elizabethtown has lost the first meeting between the squads just to turn around and win their second face-off to clinch the top seed in the district tournament. But even though tonight’s game may lack the postseason implications that their meeting in mid January will likely have, it’s hard to diminish any game between these teams. “We’re kind of anxious because it’s always a big game and a big crowd,” North Hardin junior forward Destiny Bramblett said. “It’s always the biggest game of the season and it’s always treated like a make or break for both teams.” Greg Crews can be reached at 505-1754