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With the way Domeneque Taft was shooting Monday night, senior forward Chanel Roberts had one goal in mind each time the North Hardin Lady Trojans had the ball: Find Taft.
Taft had the hot hand in the first half, hitting her first four 3-pointers, to help lead the Lady Trojans to a 73-13 rout of homestanding 17th District rival Fort Knox.
The junior guard finished 4-of-8 from the arc and scored 14 points for North Hardin, which won for the sixth time in seven games.
“She was seeing the floor and she ran the team well tonight,” Roberts said. “She was shooting really well and she just needs to keep that up for tournament time. We needed to keep getting her the ball. I would catch it on the wing and just skip it to her, and she’d hit it.”
Taft hit all her 3s on assists from Roberts, who was more than happy to keep getting Taft the ball. Taft hit three 3s in the first quarter as North Hardin (20-5, 6-2 district) jumped out to a 25-2 lead.
“I was hot tonight. I was feeling it,” Taft said. “I’ve been shooting well lately. I was ready to come out here and kick some butt.”
North Hardin coach Chris Corder is used to watching Taft hit shot after shot. He sees it from her every day in practice.
“She’s shot the ball well the last three or four games. And she’s starting to learn what a good shot is and what isn’t a good shot,” Corder said. “We did a good job finding her against their zone, and she got into a little bit of a rhythm.”
And so did the Lady Trojans.
Roberts nearly recorded a triple-double by halftime as she had 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists – which were more points (eight), rebounds (six) and assists (zero) than Fort Knox had in the first half. Roberts finished with 19 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and six steals.
“I was tired, I’m not gonna lie,” she said. “I did good, I guess, but I wasn’t expecting that. I was hoping to get my teammates more involved. I know that a lot of teams will focus on me and I know my teammates can score.”
Corder knows teams are going to try and take Roberts away. Even then, he knows how much of an impact Roberts can still have on a game.
“Chanel is in a really good groove right now,” Corder said. “She’s taking care of the basketball and she’s becoming more of a leader. She passed up about three open shots tonight so she could find a teammate, and that’s what great players do.
“She’s realized she’s the focus of every defense we face, be it a box-and-1 or whatever,” he added. “She’s doing a great job distributing the ball.”
North Hardin led 43-8 at the half, and the second half was played under the KHSAA-mandated running clock. The Lady Trojans held Fort Knox (1-20, 0-8) scoreless in the third quarter when they stretched their lead to 60-8.
Heading into Friday’s tilt with top-ranked and undefeated Marion County, Corder said there are some things the Lady Trojans need to improve.
“Defensively, we still need to get a little better,” he said. “We were a little bit lazy tonight on the defensive end. We’ve got some things we need to shore up, but I think we’ll get there. This is a hard-working group. We’ve got a big game Friday night and all the kids are excited about it. It’s going to be a really good measuring stick to see where we’re at and how we can compete with somebody like Marion County.”
It’s a challenge Roberts is looking forward to.
“I think we’ve just got to bring it to them,” she said. “We need to play hard, play smart and make shots. If we do that, we can hang with them. This game will make us better.”
Fort Knox was 6-of-28 from the field. Sophomore guard Taeisha Wynder led the Lady Eagles with four points and five rebounds, while sophomore forward Terrionna Jones scored five.
UP NEXT: North Hardin hosts No. 1 Marion County at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Fort Knox plays at Campbellsville at 6 tonight.
Josh Claywellcan be reached at (270) 505-1752 or email@example.com.