GIRLS' PREP BASKETBALL: Lady Panthers bounce back with 90-27 win over Knox (02/03)

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By Josh Claywell

If the Elizabethtown Lady Panthers had any lingering effects from Thursday night’s 30-point loss to the state’s top-ranked team, they shook them off quickly Friday night at 17th District rival Fort Knox.

Elizabethtown led 32-2 after the first quarter and freshman forward Erin Boley nearly outscored the Lady Eagles by herself, finishing with a game-best 22 points, as the Lady Panthers cruised to a 90-27 win.

Elizabethtown more than made sure the 73-43 loss to Marion County was a thing of the past.

“We weren’t really upset. We just put it past us. It was a new day and a new game,” said sophomore guard Livie Bowling, who had 10 points, five steals and three assists. “You’ve just got to put everything behind you and not worry about what happened last night.”

The Lady Panthers (17-6, 8-0 district) led 16-0 before Fort Knox scored with 3:49 left in the first quarter. Boley scored 16 points and sophomore guard Darien Huff scored eight of her 14 in the period.

After watching his team jump out to the big lead, Tim Mudd knew his Lady Panthers were OK.

“I’m sure they had a bad taste in their mouths, but I thought we came out and played well,” the veteran coach said. “It was good to get some people going and hopefully that’ll help their confidence. Darien shot the ball well and Livie did some good things running the team. I liked the way we approached the game, just like every other game we’ve played. That’s always good to see.

“I think this team is growing up,” he added. “We’ve got enough senior leadership on this team and we’re just trying to teach them to play the next play, the next game or whatever it may be. Obviously, anytime you get beat by 30 it’s not a pleasant experience, but I really thought there were things we took out of last night that we did today.”

Elizabethtown stretched its lead to 35-2 before the Lady Eagles scored on a layup by sophomore guard Brenna Stephenson. The Lady Panthers led 54-11 at the half, and the rest of the game was played under a running clock.

Elizabethtown shot 64.3 percent (36-of-56) from the field and hit 10 3-pointers. Huff hit 4-of-5 3s and also had five steals.

“She’s done very, very good on her 3s,” Bowling said. “You know when you get her the ball that she’s likely going to hit the shot.”

Sophomore center Reauna Cleaver chipped in with eight points, eight rebounds, five steals, three blocks and two assists for the Lady Panthers.

Mudd played all 12 players available and 11 scored.

Elizabethtown converted 33 turnovers from Fort Knox (1-19, 0-7) into 56 points. Mudd said Huff and Bowling did a solid job running the offense, especially when the Lady Panthers were scoring in transition.

“I thought we got the ball out and pushed it a little bit, which is something we wanted to do,” he said. “I think we can push the ball a lot more than what we do. It’s one thing to practice it, it’s one thing to emphasize it and it’s another thing to do it, and we’re just trying to get where we don’t have to sit up and call a play every time.

“Those two have good speed and good hands and quickness, so they’re a big key to our transition game,” Mudd added. “They really help with us our transition offense, and I thought they did a good job of it tonight.”

Sophomore guard Taeisha Wynder led the Lady Eagles, who shot 36.4 percent (12-of-33) from the field en route to their 18th straight loss, with 10 points, three rebounds, two steals and one assist, while senior guard Bianca Kelley, junior guard Haven Noble and seventh-grade guard Byanca Powell each scored five.

UP NEXT: Elizabethtown plays at Breckinridge County at 8 p.m. Thursday. Fort Knox hosts North Hardin at 6 p.m. Monday.

Josh Claywell can be reached at (270) 505-1752 or jclaywell@thenewsenterprise.com.