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Thirty-five seconds into Monday night’s game against visiting 5th Region foe Washington County, John Hardin coach Bryan Todd called a timeout.
He wasn’t pleased with how his Lady Bulldogs were playing and used the break to get them focused. Whatever Todd said must have worked.
John Hardin closed the first quarter on a 14-6 run and pulled away for a 53-40 win over the Commanderettes.
“I said ‘We’ve got to pick it up.’ They got after us early,” Todd said. “They did a good job. They came after us and got a four-point lead. We had to stop it quick. Hopefully I got their attention. We had to get it going. If I hadn’t called that timeout, it might have been 10-0 within the next 2 minutes.”
John Hardin (2-1) responded, taking an 18-10 lead into the second quarter.
Senior post Michelle Montgomery, who scored four of John Hardin’s first six points, said the timeout was needed after Washington County (1-2) grabbed a 4-0 lead.
“We didn’t come out ready,” she said. “That’s something we need to work on. We need to come out ready and work on getting a good start. He just got our heads right. Right then, we were like ‘This is ridiculous.’ We had to get started and we finally did.”
Freshman Tyra Jackson said the Lady Bulldogs came out of the timeout determined to get things going their way.
“He was telling us that we were rushing and that we needed to slow down. We finally did,” she said. “We paced ourselves and shifted the ball more and stopped taking bad shots like we did before the timeout.”
A defensive change provided the spark.
Todd switched from a 2-2-1 press to a man-to-man full court press, which caused some havoc for the Commanderettes. John Hardin forced 27 turnovers.
Once the defensive intensity cranked up, the Lady Bulldogs finally got going on the offensive end. They stretched a 28-19 halftime lead into a 40-26 advantage going to the fourth quarter, closing the third with a 12-2 run.
“I got out of the 2-2-1 press we had been running and switched to man-to-man full court, and that was the difference in the game,” Todd said. “It wasn’t near as effective as the man-to-man was. Our man-to-man did it for us. It forced them into several turnovers and got us going. We couldn’t go against their zone all night without getting some steals.”
The Lady Bulldogs extended the lead to 47-31 midway through the fourth, but the Commanderettes rallied once again.
Junior Jennifer Keene hit two layups, junior Riquel Logan drained a 3-pointer and senior Kenya Turner scored on a putback to cut the deficit to 49-40 with 2:06 left.
“I wasn’t panicking, but I was a little concerned,” Todd said. “I know they’re a good team and I don’t like to take any chances. We need to take better care of the ball. We shot some shots when we had a nine-, 10- and 11-point lead that we didn’t need to shoot. That’s something you try to talk about in the preseason, but we didn’t talk much about it. We need to work on situation play and get better at that.
“I thought we did much better tonight,” he added. “I felt like that was a team we should beat, but it was a team if you’re not ready to play and play a good game, you’re gonna get beat. We managed to get a win, and we’re happy with that.”
Montgomery led the way, posting a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Tyra Jackson added 15 points, four rebounds, two steals and one assist, while junior Nawdya Fletcher chipped in with seven points, seven rebounds and two steals.
Keene had 13 points, 12 rebounds, two steals and one assist for Washington County, while Turner had 12 points and 14 rebounds. Logan added 11 points, six rebounds, five steals and one assist.
JOHN HARDIN 53, WASHINGTON COUNTY 40
Washington Co. 10 9 7 14—40
John Hardin 18 10 12 13—53
Washington County (1-2)
Jennifer Keene 13, Kenya Turner 12, Riquel Logan 11, Lexi Thompson 4. FG: 16-49. FT: 5-12. 3-pointers: 3-8 (Logan 3-5, Thompson 0-2, Nick Brizendine 0-1). Rebs: 38 (Turner 14, Keene 12). Assists: 6 (Brizendine 3). Steals: 12 (Logan 5, Brizendine 3).
John Hardin (2-1)
Michelle Montgomery 18, Tyra Jackson 15, Nawdya Fletcher 7, Tajah Haley 4, Desireah Mills 3, Zacchea Small 2, Tamera Taylor 2, Kaitlyn Priddy 2. FG: 23-62. FT: 7-14. 3-pointers: 0-11 (Haley 0-6, Fletcher 0-4, Mills 0-1). Rebs: 35 (Montgomery 10, Small 8). Assists: 7 (Small 3, Mills 2). Steals: 12 (Five with 2).
UP NEXT: John Hardin hosts Adair County at 8 p.m. Thursday.
Josh Claywell can be reached at (270) 505-1752 or email@example.com.