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For the first quarter Monday night, the Meade County Lady Waves had high hopes of knocking off former 17th District rival Elizabethtown.
Freshman guard Raley Johnson hit 4-of-6 3-pointers to spark the homestanding Lady Waves to a one-point lead at the end of the period.
Then, just like coach Josh Hurt predicted in the preseason, Meade County’s inexperience began to show. Elizabethtown outscored the Lady Waves, 25-15 in the second quarter and pulled away in the second half on its way to a 78-55 victory in both teams’ season opener.
“I think at times, especially on the defensive end, we lost people that we shouldn’t have lost,” Hurt said. “I think that’s the part that’s the hardest. Our kids are skilled offensively. I thought our youth showed in our legs in the second half. We weren’t able to make as many shots as we made in the first half for whatever reason.”
Johnson hit four 3s in the first quarter, including on three straight possessions, as the Lady Waves (0-1) jumped out to a 15-7 lead with 3:18 remaining in the period.
Meade County forced Elizabethtown (1-0) into six turnovers in the first quarter. The Lady Panthers also got into some early foul trouble with eight fouls in the first 8 minutes.
“We realized that we weren’t scoring as much and we got in foul trouble, and other people noticed they needed to pick it up and they did,” said Elizabethtown senior guard Natalie Greenwell, who scored eight points. “The ref was calling it a little tight and we were playing aggressive.”
Elizabethtown took control in the second quarter.
Senior forwards Kymbur Berrow and Adelaide Luckett scored on back-to-back possessions to open the second quarter and put the Lady Panthers ahead for good.
“We may have been trying to do a little too much offensively and hurrying and rushing things,” said Elizabethtown coach Tim Mudd. “Meade County did a real good job of staying in front of us and taking us out of some things we wanted to do. But after the first quarter, we settled in and were able to get some good looks and finish those looks.”
After Johnson scored to bring the Lady Waves within 25-23 early in the second quarter, Elizabethtown kicked it into high gear. The Lady Panthers led 43-34 at halftime before turning it into a 65-45 lead in the fourth quarter.
The big lead meant Elizabethtown’s reserves got to see plenty of time. Every Lady Panther who dressed saw the court, and only two didn’t score.
Luckett led Elizabethtown with 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while junior Kaylyn Cecil had 19 points. Reserve sophomore post Alexis Powell chipped in with 17 points.
Johnson, meanwhile, led all scorers with 25 points. She finished 9-of-21 from the field and 6-of-9 on 3s.
“We’ve always known Raley was going to be outstanding,” Hurt said. “It was just a matter of turning potential into reality. She played some last year as an eighth-grader, and I thought that was big for her to break the ice. The way she came out was probably the best performance I’ve seen in an opening quarter of an opening game, especially from a freshman.
“I wish we could have kept getting her the ball but they did a good job, once she hit three or four, of finding her and making it tough on us to get her the ball.”
Eighth-grade forward Morgan Turner added 10 points and three rebounds, while freshman guard Katelyn Cucino chipped in with 10 points and three assists.
The Lady Waves were playing without senior forward Scarlett Powers, who could miss a couple of weeks with a hairline fracture in her right leg. Powers originally was told she had a stress strain.
“You can’t lose a kid that’s going to be a 1,000-point scorer and hopefully an All-Region player, and have it not hurt,” Hurt said. “We need Scarlett on the floor, but the good news is the kids we had in there responded. They weren’t afraid and didn’t back down.”
ELIZABETHTOWN78, MEADE COUNTY 55
Elizabethtown 18 25 18 17—78
Meade County 19 15 11 10—55
Kaylyn Cecil 19, Adelaide Luckett 19, Alexis Powell 17, Natalie Greenwell 8, Kymbur Berrow 5, Jessica Duwe 4, Kinsey Mudd 4, Anna Bowling 2. FG: 31-54. FT: 10-11. 3-pointers: 6-17 (Cecil 3-7, Powell 1-1, Luckett 1-1, Duwe 1-4, Tara Gilpin 0-2, Deanna Downs 0-1, Berrow 0-1). Rebs: 43 (Luckett 7, Berrow 6). Assists: 17 (Greenwell 4, Berrow 4, Luckett 4). Steals: 7 (Gilpin 2, Powell 2).
Raley Johnson 25, Katelyn Cuccino 10, Morgan Turner 10, Carissa Schwartz 4, Kristin Benton 4, Maya Luney 2. FG: 18-50. FT: 10-15. 3-pointers: 9-19 (Johnson 6-9, Cuccino 2-3, Schwartz 1-4, Turner 0-2, Benton 0-1). Rebs: 17 (Turner 3, Benton 2). Assists: 3 (Cuccino 3). Steals: 3 (Schwartz 2, Johnson 1).
UP NEXT: Elizabethtown hosts 17th District rival John Hardin at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Meade County plays at Elizabeth (Ind.) South Central at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Josh Claywell can be reached at (270) 505-1752 or at email@example.com