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The Elizabethtown Lady Panthers have owned the 17th District for some time. How long? Only one North Hardin Lady Trojan has ever been a part of a win over Elizabethtown.
The Lady Panthers, who have won seven straight district championships, have beaten North Hardin 10 consecutive times since the Lady Trojans’ 57-52 victory Jan 16, 2009. Elizabethtown hosts North Hardin at 7:30 tonight at Charlie Rawlings Memorial Gymnasium.
North Hardin coach Chris Corder said clearing a mental hurdle against Elizabethtown would be huge for the Lady Trojans.
“We have to go down there with the right mindset,” Corder said. “I don’t know if last year we thought we were capable of winning the ball game. It’s more of a mental thing for us.”
Elizabethtown (12-4, 4-0 district) leads the district standings by a half-game over North Hardin (14-3, 3-0). Win or lose, Corder said the season is far from over, considering the teams will meet again in 15 days.
“If we go down there and win, we can’t quit working, and if we go down there and lose, we can’t hang our heads,” Corder said. “What I like about this team is they don’t feel good about themselves. They’re not satisfied with how we’ve played. They’ve continued to work hard.”
The game features two of the top players in the region. North Hardin senior Chanel Roberts is averaging 17.2 points and 12.9 rebounds a game, while Elizabethtown freshman Erin Boley is scoring 19.5 points a game while shooting 57.7 percent from the field, including 13-of-28 from 3-point range.
The supporting casts, though, could ultimately decide this one. Corder said this is a typical Elizabethtown team in the way it’s constructed.
“It’s the way they usually play,” Corder said. “They are going to pressure you in a number of ways. They really shoot the basketball well. We’ve got to gang rebound and keep them off the offensive boards. What they do better than anything is they come out of the gate and get all over you.”
That’s exactly what the Lady Panthers did to North Hardin last season. The Lady Trojans fell behind in both games and Corder said “you can’t play from behind against them.” Weathering Elizabethtown’s early storm will be vital for North Hardin.
Elizabethtown has won three straight and five of its last six. The Lady Trojans come into the game off a 58-37 victory over Oldham County on Monday after back-to-back losses.
“It was huge,” Corder said. “We haven’t played well offensively for probably three weeks. We didn’t play well offensively the first half against Oldham County. We challenged them at halftime and we played better the second half. That was big to get in the right mindset going into this game.”
Central Hardin hosts Fort Knox in a 17th District boy/girl doubleheader tonight, while Hart County plays at LaRue County in an 18th District girl/boy doubleheader.
Other girls’ games this weekend are: Muhlenberg County at Meade County tonight; North Hardin vs. Louisville Eastern and LaRue County vs. Bullitt East at Louisville Pleasure Ridge Park on Saturday; and Meade County vs. Owensboro Apollo on Saturday.
Other boys’ games this weekend include: John Hardin at Spencer County tonight; Elizabethtown at Henderson County on Saturday; and North Hardin at Taylor County on Saturday.
Chuck Jones can be reached at (270) 505-1759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.