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Tim Mudd is a big fan of Christmas tournaments for two reasons.
The veteran Elizabethtown Lady Panthers coach can spend more time picking up on things his team needs to improve on. And he likes the fact the Lady Panthers get to face some tough competition.
Elizabethtown went 4-3 over Christmas break, going 1-2 in the Republic Bank Holiday Classic at Lexington Catholic and 3-1 in the Staxx BBQ Capital City Showdown at Franklin County.
“I think the main thing is we played some pretty good teams,” Mudd said Wednesday. “Any time you get a chance to play excellent teams, it’s a good situation because it shows you what you need to work on and what you need to get better at. I thought we were competitive in all our games. You want to win them all, but we learned a lot about ourselves and the team. We got back to work today and started working on the things we saw that we need to get better at.”
One of which is scoring in transition.
Instead of calling a play every time the Lady Panthers have the ball, Mudd wants them to create more scoring opportunities off their defense. Freshman forward Erin Boley felt her team improved in that aspect over the break.
“It definitely told us that we have a long way to go,” she said. “We have to work really hard and work together, and we’re gonna have to keep putting things together as we go. We have a lot to work on, like our defense. We really need to improve on that. But our offense is going to come from our defense, so that’s something we need to improve.”
Another area of focus was being patient on offense. Mudd said the Lady Panthers are learning that if a play breaks down, it’s not time to panic.
“I thought we became a lot more patient on offense and we learned that, if a play breaks off, we can keep playing and we don’t panic,” he said. “Truthfully, we were doing that some before the holidays. If one play didn’t work, then we just kind of panicked and maybe took a bad shot. But coming out of the holidays, not only did we get better shots, but we were patient.”
The Lady Panthers hope that trend continues tonight as they venture to Cecilia to take on 17th District rival Central Hardin at 7:30.
Elizabethtown (10-4, 3-0 district) is seeking its 13th straight win over Central Hardin (1-11, 0-3). Including Elizabethtown’s 68-11 win Dec. 14, the Lady Bruins haven’t beaten the Lady Panthers since Dec. 14, 2007.
Mudd told his team not to expect another lopsided game because no two games are the same.
“Like Coach Mudd just told us, no two games are alike,” Boley said. “We just have to come out and play hard. We can’t underestimate them in any way at all. We’re just going to have to come out and play as hard as we can. We’re really playing well as a team right now.”
Mudd said just because the Lady Panthers won big in the first meeting doesn’t mean it will happen again.
“We may do different stuff than we did last time,” he said. “We may experiment with some things. Central Hardin may do some things different. You just never know. You’ve got to play the game. No two games are alike, and that’s the great thing about this sport. You better approach every game with the right attitude and the right frame of mind, and let the chips fall where they may.”
JOHN HARDIN (13-3, 2-2) AT FORT KNOX (1-9, 0-3). The Lady Bulldogs have dominated this series, winning 28 straight against the Lady Eagles.
Fort Knox hasn’t beaten the Lady Bulldogs since sweeping two games in 2001-02, which was John Hardin’s first year.
If the Lady Bulldogs are to make it 29 in a row at 7:15 tonight, longtime coach Bryan Todd said they must keep improving on “the little things.”
“We’ve been talking about them all year,” he said. “We’re going to keep doing those so we can get better.”
John Hardin is coming off a solid Christmas break. It went 2-1 in the Food Pantry Holiday Classic at Campbellsville before Christmas and won the McLean County Christmas Tournament over the weekend.
The Lady Bulldogs topped Paducah Lone Oak, 54-52 in Saturday’s championship. Todd hopes the win gives his team momentum in the second half of the season.
“I think that’s the first tournament we’ve ever won away from John Hardin,” he said. “Hopefully it’ll give us a big confidence boost. That was a big step for us to take. Hopefully it’ll carry over for us and keep us going in the second part of the season.”
In other action:
n The LaRue County Lady Hawks (7-3) host Bardstown (2-11) at 7:30 and Meade County (8-6) hosts Floyd (Ind.) Central at 7:30 tonight.
Josh Claywell can be reached at (270) 505-1752 or firstname.lastname@example.org.