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By GREG CREWS firstname.lastname@example.org
BOWLING GREEN — Elizabethtown coach Tim Mudd started to question if he needed to put Alex Jones back in the game as Henderson County tied it up midway through the second quarter with Elizabethtown’s senior center on the bench with two fouls.
An 11-2 run stretching into the third quarter calmed the Elizabethtown bench and the Lady Panthers cruised into the finals of the Houchens/KHSAA Girls’ Sweet Sixteen State Basketball Tournament on Saturday with a 57-33 win over the Lady Colonels.
“Whenever Alex is out, we have to make up for everything she does when she is on the floor; all her rebounding and the points she scores and we all just have to step up and play our part,” said Elizabethtown senior wing Dorian Downs, who scored six of her nine points as the Lady Panthers (33-2) pulled away midway through the game.
When Jones re-entered the game in the third quarter, she made up for lost time in a hurry.
Despite playing only 21 minutes, Jones finished with a game-high 19 points to go along with a team-high nine rebounds.
“The second half, I just knew I had to play smarter,” Jones said. “I just took what the defense gave me.”
That seemed to be the theme of the game for the Lady Panthers.
In the first half, Henderson County (24-6) did what it could to slow down the game, sometimes holding the ball for a minute at a time. Elizabethtown remained patient and despite hitting only 33 percent (7-of-22) of its field goals in the first two quarters, pulled out to a 22-17 lead at halftime.
“One thing we have done really well all season is making plays and hurting our opponents with the decisions they make,” Mudd said. “They tried to double Alex and that left Adelaide (Luckett, a sophomore forward) open and Alex made some nice passes to Adelaide and Adelaide finished the bucket. One time today Dorian’s man went in to double Alex and Alex kicked to Dorian for a wide open 3.
“We’re just taking what the opponents are giving us,” he added. “We’ve probably done a better job of that in the postseason than we did in the regular season.”
At the start of the third quarter, the Lady Colonels were apparently giving up the back door.
Luckett, who scored all 12 of her points in the second half, opened the period with a pair of backdoor layups — both assisted by senior guard Terra Lucas — and Elizabethtown scored on nine of its first 10 possessions in the third quarter as the Lady Panthers built their lead to 20 points (43-23).
From there, Elizabethtown never let Henderson County within 19 points.
Senior center Alyse Poindexter was in foul trouble for most of the game, but still managed to lead Henderson County as she recorded 10 points and nine rebounds. No other player scored more than six points for the Lady Colonels.
“I thought we played decent in the first half. We kept the score low and had a decent effort out there,” Henderson County coach Jeff Haile said. “We just missed shots the whole game. They gave us open shots, we just couldn’t convert.
“(Elizabethtown) is just a great team.”
Greg Crews can be reached at 505-1754