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GIRLS' PREP BASKETBALL: Lady Panthers steal one against John Hardin, 61-28 (12/02)

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By John Groth

Active hands, anticipation and more full-throttle defense got the Elizabethtown Lady Panthers roaring against John Hardin in both teams’ 17th District openers Friday night.

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That’s what coach Tim Mudd thinks they’re going to need more of this season and his team showed what happens when you think ahead.

Freshman forward Erin Boley scored a game-high 15 points, while sophomore center Reauna Cleaver added 11 to lead the Lady Panthers to a 61-28 victory over John Hardin at Charlie Rawlings Memorial Gymnasium.

Early on, it was tough for the Lady Bulldogs (1-1 overall, 0-1 district) to even move the ball past halfcourt. Elizabethtown (2-0, 1-0) blitzed John Hardin with a 10-0 run in the first 3 minutes and increased its advantage to 22-5 after the end of the opening quarter. The Lady Panthers forced 10 turnovers and totaled six steals in the first period alone. At one point, they recorded three consecutive steals and had John Hardin in quite the quandary.

“I thought we were real active tonight, I really did. We’ve got good length on this team. We really do have some good anticipators,” Mudd said. “We’re just trying to take advantage of what we’ve got and hide what we don’t have.”

Mudd wouldn’t admit what that is, but whatever the case his team didn’t let the Lady Bulldogs exploit it.

Elizabethtown clamped down on the Lady Bulldogs in every aspect. They held them to just 8-of-41 (19.5 percent) shooting, including 3-of-17 (17.6 percent) from 3-point range. John Hardin hit just 2-of-12 shots in the first quarter and went 2-of-17 in the second.

Boley was one of the main catalysts behind the more aggressive play. She finished with five steals – four in the first half – and used her agility and lengthy 6-foot-1 frame to jump in front of passes intended for John Hardin players as the Lady Bulldogs tried to move past Elizabethtown’s backcourt pressure.

“We really came out with a lot of intensity and that was something he (Coach Mudd) really stressed to us before the game – that we needed to come out hard and we needed to be ready to just jump on them in the beginning in the backcourt and just everywhere,” said Boley, who also had four rebounds. “I thought we really did good just getting our hands on the balls, things like that, at the beginning of the game.”

It was beyond frustrating for John Hardin coach Bryan Todd.

Instead of making diagonal passes to beat the press, he thought the Lady Bulldogs made too many straight crosscourt passes and threw the ball right to Elizabethtown players – providing them with easy transition opportunities.

Last year’s top scorer, senior center Michelle Montgomery, picked up two fouls in the games first 4 minutes and spent most of the first half on the bench. She finished with just two points on 1-of-5 shooting and fouled out in the final 6:18. Todd picked up a technical foul after yelling about one of her fouls and late in the third quarter the Lady Panthers pushed their advantage to 55-19, giving them a lead over 35 points and making the game go to a running clock. It’s the first year that rule has been instituted in Kentucky.

Todd thought the pressure of the game got to the Lady Bulldogs. Since the program started in 2001, John Hardin is 0-26 against the Lady Panthers.

“I think they had the right frame of mindset. They just didn’t handle the pressure of the game,” Todd said.

Junior wing Nawdya Fletcher led John Hardin with eight points. Freshman guard Tyra Jackson had four and three other players had three each.

“I don’t think they played any harder than we did. We didn’t make plays,” Todd said. “Are they better than us? No. I don’t think they have any more talent than us. I just think they relax more than and they made plays.”

UP NEXT: Elizabethtown, which hosted Fort Knox on Saturday, hosts Nelson County at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. John Hardin hosts Washington County at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

John Groth can be reached at (270) 505-1754 or jgroth@thenewsenterprise.com.

ELIZABETHTOWN 61

JOHN HARDIN 28

John Hardin              5    7   7      9—28

Elizabethtown          22  19 14      6—61

TEAM STATISTICS

Team                    FG      FT     R     TP

John Hardin         8-41    9-28    29     28

Elizabethtown     18-44  23-32    36     61

JOHN HARDIN

Player                  FG      FT      R    TP

Jackson               2-6      0-2      1      4

Fletcher                2-8      3-7      4      8

Haley                   0-6      3-4      3      3

Small                   1-3      2-7      3      3

Montgomery          1-5      0-0      2      2

Mills                    0-2      0-2      2      0

Taylor                  0-1      0-0      1      0

Priddy                  0-1      0-2      1      0

Bohannon             0-4      0-0      1      0

Stateman             0-3      1-4      7      1

Sanders               0-1      0-0      2      0

White                   1-3      0-0      0      3

Young                  0-1      0-0      0      0

Dice                     0-2      0-0      0      0

Kelly                    1-1      0-0      0      3

Team                                       2

ELIZABETHTOWN

Player                  FG      FT      R    TP

L. Bowling            1-2      2-2      1      4

A. Bowling            0-0      0-0      0      0

Mudd                   0-3      2-4      0      3

Boley                 6-10      2-2      4     15

Cleaver                3-4      5-9      5     11

Huff                     0-2      5-6      4      6

Warden                2-8      2-2      3      7

Powell                  1-1      4-5      3      6

Coffman               3-5      0-0     10      6

Downs                 0-1      1-2      3      1

Duwe                   1-4      0-0      0      2

Lark                    1-4      0-0      2      2

Team                                       1

3-POINTERS: JOHN HARDIN (3-17): Da’Inara White 1-1, Jacqueline Kelly 1-1, Nawdya Fletcher 1-4, Tyra Jackson 0-1, Tajah Haley 0-1, Michelle Montgomery 0-1, Desireah Mills 0-1, Khelsie Young 0-1, Aaliyah Dice 0-2, Emily Bohannon 0-4. ELIZABETHTOWN (2-11): Erin Boley 1-1, Rachel Warden 1-3, Kinsey Mudd 0-2, Darien Huff 0-2, Madison Lark 0-3. ASSISTS: JOHN HARDIN (1): Nawdya Fletcher 1. ELIZABETHTOWN (8): Rachel Warden 3, Erin Boley 1, Livie Bowling 1, Darien Huff 1, Madison Lark 1, Kinsey Mudd 1.