GIRLS' PREP BASKETBALL: North Hardin opens season with 12-point win over Hart County (12/02)

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Smiley hits four 3s, Bramblett just misses double-double for North

By Nathaniel Bryan



By NATHANIEL BRYAN nbryan@thenewsenterprise.com RADCLIFF — The high school girls’ basketball season is less than 24 hours old and RaeChaun Edwards already looks like she’s in postseason form. A sophomore point guard, Edwards scored 18 of her game-high 26 points in the first half to lead the homestanding North Hardin Lady Trojans to a 73-61 win over the scrappy Hart County Lady Raiders on Monday night in both teams’ season openers. Edwards scored seven of her team’s final nine points of the first quarter and scored the Lady Trojans’ final nine points of the first half. “Coach (James Slaven) told us that if we could get the ball to (RaeChaun), then get the ball to (RaeChaun),” said North Hardin junior power forward Destiny Bramblett, who blocked three shots and just missed a double-double with nine points and a team-high 12 rebounds. “But we all have to start doing our jobs. Every night, she won’t be able to get to the rim as easily as she did, so we all have to be better.” North Hardin (1-0) looked like the better team early, trailing for a total of just 11 seconds when senior guard Lindsay Highbaugh gave Hart County (0-1) a 4-3 lead on a drive. The Lady Trojans responded by scoring on each of their next three trips down the floor. Back-to-back baskets by Edwards gave North Hardin a 34-13 lead midway through the second quarter, but Hart County closed the second quarter with a 12-3 run. “We played well for 4 or 5 minutes at a time, but we need to play well for 8 minutes (full quarters),” said Slaven, whose team ended Hart County’s season last year in the 5th Region Tournament semifinals. Having its sizable lead cut in half, North Hardin came out of halftime with a vengeance, scoring on 9-of-13 possessions to take a 26-point lead with less than 2 minutes to play in the third quarter. Senior guard Sarah Anderson hit three 3-pointers in the span, while Edwards had six points, Bramblett had four points and junior shooting guard Jennifer Smiley had two assists. Although pleased with his team’s determination to get its lead back, Slaven wanted the Lady Trojans to go for more. “That’s when you have to close good teams out,” he said. “You can’t let them come back. You want to push the lead from 26 to 36.” That didn’t happen. Hart County, which beat North Hardin in Munfordville early in last year’s regular season, scored the final nine points of the third quarter and turned the contest into a three-possession affair with 65 seconds left on a drive by Highbaugh, who had a team-high 16 points. “Coach kept reminding us of that. He told us that we went down there last year and they flipped the switch on us and they could easily do it again tonight,” said Smiley, who scored eight of her team’s final 11 points. “I think we got too comfortable. We felt like we could sit back and relax. We underestimated them.” Smiley finished with 18 points and game highs in steals (four) and assists (three). She was 4-of-9 from the 3-point line. “If Jennifer gets a good shot, she’ll hit 40 percent of them for the season. Tonight, she got good shots,” Slaven said. North Hardin got just two points in a combined 46:33 of playing time from five reserves, barely outrebounded the smaller Lady Raiders, 42-38 and turned the ball over 17 times in 80 trips down the court. “It honestly looked like the first game of the year,” Slaven said. “It’s a good thing they don’t play the region tournament in early December.” Hart County won the junior varsity game. NORTH HARDIN 73, HART COUNTY 61 Hart County       11   14   16    20—63 North Hardin      19   18   21    15—73 Hart County (0-1) Lindsay Highbaugh 16, Shelbie Proctor 13, Lindsey Burd 10, Leah Burd 7, Savannah Trent 7, Lexee Wilson 3, Heather Butler 2, Katara Reynolds 1. FG: 20-55. FT: 19-24. 3-pointers: 2-14 (Le. Burd 1-2, Trent 1-4, Highbaugh 0-2, Reynolds 0-3, Wilson 0-3). Rebs: 38 (Li. Burd 13, Highbaugh 5). Assists: 3 (Highbaugh 2, Le. Burd 1). Steals: 4 (Le. Burd 2). North Hardin (1-0) RaeChaun Edwards 26, Jennifer Smiley 18, Sarah Anderson 9, Destiny Bramblett 9, Chanel Roberts 9, Lexi Taft 2. FG: 27-66. FT: 10-16. 3-pointers: 9-31 (Smiley 4-9, Anderson 3-8, Edwards 2-7, Taft 0-3, Brianna Woodson 0-3, Bramblett 0-1). Rebs: 42 (Bramblett 12, Anderson 7). Assists: 14 (Smiley 3, Three with 2). Steals: 8 (Smiley 4). UP NEXT: North Hardin opens its 17th District schedule against visiting John Hardin at 6 p.m. Friday. Nathaniel Bryan can be reached at 505-1758