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Although she had an off night, Reauna Cleaver still had a pretty sweet 16th birthday.
The Elizabethtown sophomore had a little bit of royal treatment after Saturday afternoon’s game against 17th District rival Fort Knox.
Walking around with a pink “princess” crown and a pink happy birthday button from teammate Kinsey Mudd’s mom, Lisa, and a panda balloon from sophomore teammate Darien Huff, she was in a jovial mood after the Lady Panthers’ third straight win – a 55-9 victory over the visiting Lady Eagles.
Elizabethtown capitalized on its strength – post play – and dominated inside. The Lady Panthers’ three forwards and two centers combined for more than three quarters of their points (42) and more than half of their rebounds (19 of 34).
“We finally got to the inside and then we worked on our inside game,” said Cleaver, who finished with just two points on 1-of-3 shooting and also added three rebounds and one assist. “We’ve worked on our passing every day in practice. We’ve worked on getting stronger in the paint. We all know that our posts can get the ball in the goal, but then we all know our guards can get the ball to the posts.”
The posts did plenty of scoring, while the guards fed them.
Freshman forward Erin Boley scored a game-high 19 points for the Lady Panthers (3-0 overall, 2-0 district), who she has led in scoring in every game. Boley went 9-of-14 from the field, scoring eight points in the first quarter as the Lady Panthers jumped out to a 20-2 lead. She scored eight straight to open the second to help push the advantage to 28-2 with 5:17 left before the half.
Senior reserve center Kaitlyn Coffman added nine points and six rebounds, while senior reserve forwards Alexis Powell and Deanna Downs added six points apiece. Powell hit 3-of-5 shots, while Downs made 2-of-3 and went 2-of-6 from the foul line. She also had six rebounds.
Elizabethtown coach Tim Mudd thought his team had the height advantage and wanted the Lady Panthers to work the ball inside. That they did, totaling 14 assists on 21 baskets.
Sophomore guard Livie Bowling had three assists, while freshman reserve guard Rachel Warden and senior reserve guard Jessica Duwe had two each. But Elizabethtown struggled shooting, hitting just 20-of-39 (51.3 percent) of its 2-pointers, 1-of-13 (7.7 percent) from outside and 12-of-21 (57.1 percent) from the foul line.
“We really want to focus on getting the ball inside. It’s been what we’ve done for years and we’re going to continue to do that. We just like to play through the post,” Mudd said. “I thought we did a good job of doing that tonight. Some nights you just don’t make shots and obviously tonight we didn’t.”
Elizabethtown recorded its 25th straight victory over Fort Knox (1-2, 0-1). The Lady Eagles haven’t defeated the Lady Panthers since Feb. 9, 2001.
Fort Knox struggled against Elizabethtown’s backcourt pressure, committing 10 turnovers in the first quarter and finishing with 31 for the game. First-year coach Joe Hammond said this was the first time this season the Lady Eagles have faced such pressure.
“At times, they broke the pressure and looked pretty good,” Hammond said. “We’re not rotating in the right spots all the time that we need to rotate into. If we did, we got better looks. (We were) just being sometimes a little hesitant at times when we should’ve been a little more aggressive.”
Seventh-grader Byanca Powell led Fort Knox with three points, while four other players had two each. Sophomore guard/forward Brenna Stephenson had a team-high four rebounds.
“We’re just trying to figure out a way to compete and win. We made a lot of mistakes,” Hammond said. “There are some things we can do better. We talked to them about that. We’re just trying to take again baby steps to try and get better.”
UP NEXT: Elizabethtown hosts Nelson County at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Fort Knox plays at North Hardin at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
John Groth can be reached at (270) 505-1754 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FORT KNOX 9
Fort Knox 2 5 2 2—9
Elizabethtown 20 18 8 9—55
Team FG FT R TP
Fort Knox 4-22 0-0 19 9
Elizabethtown 21-52 12-21 34 55
Player FG FT R TP
Wynder 0-5 0-0 1 0
Noble 1-2 0-0 1 2
Stephenson 0-1 0-0 4 0
Jones 0-1 0-0 3 0
Powell 1-6 0-0 2 3
Smith 0-3 0-0 3 0
Rice 1-1 0-0 0 2
Kelley 1-1 0-0 0 2
Terstegen 0-2 0-0 2 0
Jackson 2-6 0-2 1 4
Player FG FT R TP
L. Bowling 1-5 1-2 2 3
A. Bowling 1-2 0-0 2 3
Mudd 1-4 0-0 1 2
Boley 9-14 1-1 3 19
Cleaver 1-3 0-2 3 2
Warden 0-4 0-0 4 0
Huff 1-4 2-2 2 4
Powell 3-5 0-0 1 6
Downs 2-3 2-6 6 6
Duwe 0-1 1-2 0 1
Coffman 2-5 5-6 6 9
Lark 0-2 0-0 2 0
3-POINTERS: FORT KNOX (1-5): Byanca Powell 1-3, Kelli Terstegen 0-2. ELIZABETHTOWN (1-13): Anna Bowling 1-2, Jessica Duwe 0-1, Darien Huff 0-2, Madison Lark 0-2, Kinsey Mudd 0-3, Rachel Warden 0-3. ASSISTS: FORT KNOX (3): Taeisha Wynder, Haven Noble, Kelli Terstegen. ELIZABETHTOWN (14):Livie Bowling 3, Rachel Warden 2, Jessica Duwe 2, Reauna Cleaver 1, Erin Boley 1, Kinsey Mudd 1, Anna Bowling 1, Kaitlyn Coffman 1.