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John Hardin coach Bryan Todd and the Lady Bulldogs have been salivating for this 17th District rematch just over a month and a half.
After a dismal first-quarter performance in a 61-28 loss at Elizabethtown on Nov. 30, he thinks they’re ready to show their mettle. The Lady Bulldogs committed 10 turnovers and trailed by 17 points after the opening period, putting themselves in an enormous hole.
“I’m sure E’town is going to come out and try to lower the boom right at the beginning. And we have to handle that pressure, whether it’s their defense or just pressure and we’ve got to handle that,” Todd said. “I have all the confidence in my girls and think they will do that.”
Todd thinks the Lady Bulldogs (16-5, 4-2 district) have an edge at 7:30 tonight at John Hardin, especially after coming off a 60-57 loss at North Bullitt on Monday – their second loss in their last three games.
John Hardin shot just 33.3 percent (19-of-57) from the field and hit just 25 percent (3-of-12) of its 3-pointers against the Lady Eagles (12-7). The Lady Bulldogs led 12-7 after the first quarter, but were outscored each of the final three.
Junior guard Zacchea Small (15 points), junior guard Tajah Haley (11) and senior center Michelle Montgomery (10 points, 14 rebounds) each reached double figures. But Todd thought they were missing something.
Over the past two to three practices, he acknowledged they’ve found their fierceness again.
“They’ve been very positive. They came out with the right attitude. I didn’t have to be too hard on them because I felt like they had the right attitude,” Todd said. “They were very positive, business-like and I felt like were ready to go. They responded and handled that in the right way.”
Meanwhile, Elizabethtown (13-4, 5-0) has been on the right path – winning four straight and six of its last seven. The Lady Panthers have held their last four opponents to less than 50 points and shot 50 percent or better in three of their last four games.
Freshman forward Erin Boley has scored at least 18 points in each and recorded double-doubles in two games. Junior guard Kinsey Mudd scored 11 points in a Jan. 5 win over Adair County and a 69-44 victory over William Blount (Tenn.). on Dec. 29 in the Staxx BBQ Capital City Showdown in Franklin County.
Sophomore guard Darien Huff has provided a big spark off the bench in two of the last three games, totaling 10 points in a 64-48 win at district rival North Hardin on Friday and a 63-18 victory over district foe Central Hardin on Jan. 3.
“I think we’re getting more comfortable,” Elizabethtown coach Tim Mudd said. “Our shot selection, I think, has gotten better. We are taking care of the basketball better and rebounding better.”
Mudd isn’t sure how this game will play out either, but he expects it to be a little tougher this time around.
“Anytime you’re going on somebody else’s home court you have to play well. Last time it was at our place, this time it is at their place. I’m sure we’ll have to be mentally tough. Hopefully we’ll play well,” Mudd said. “No two games are alike. I’m a firm believer in that. Each game is different; you’ve got to approach it that way.”
Also tonight, Meade County (11-8, 3-1 11th district) plays at Breckinridge County (5-10, 2-2) at 8. After a four-game winning streak, Meade County has lost two of its last three. Breckinridge County has dropped nine of its last 11.
The Lady Waves defeated the Lady Tigers, 56-33 on Dec. 7. Sophomore forward Morgan Turner totaled team-highs of 19 points and six rebounds, while sophomore guard Addi Lynch scored nine for Meade County.
John Groth can be reached at (270) 505-175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.