Kristina Covington-Jones knew taking on two of the top teams in the state within a week of each other wouldn’t be easy. Throw in coming off a nearly two-week stretch without any games and that only added to the challenge.
While there were issues present in last Monday’s loss to No. 2 Elizabethtown, the Central Hardin coach had plenty of praise for her team’s effort Saturday afternoon.
Hosting No. 1 Anderson County to open the Will Harris Homes Winter Classic, the Lady Bruins kept it close throughout and continued to fight down the stretch, falling 59-55.
“I told my girls (Saturday) that when I can coach the game and not coach your efforts, what an amazing team that we are. Monday, we just showed up, we didn’t play good team ball and it has haunted me,” Covington-Jones said. “But from there on, Tuesday we had a good team practice. Wednesday, we came out and played as a team again. Thursday, we had a good team practice and then Friday we had a good team practice. (Saturday), we still made the same mistakes that we made on Monday in the loss with E’town, but when you don’t have to coach efforts and you only have to coach the game, it looks a lot better.”
Covington-Jones said that her team’s patience to wait for the right opportunities on offense contributed to staying right with the Lady Bearcats. She added that the team’s defensive effort also played a key role.
“When our defense is up, boy our offense looks pretty amazing,” Covington-Jones said. “It’s a loss, but for us it’s a win because team-wise, I want us to continue to go forward as a team and do the little things that we’re doing as a team. Not happy that we lost, it’s still a loss in the books, but very happy with the way we decided to play as a team.”
Anderson County quickly jumped out to a 5-0 lead before a shot from Mallory Reed put Central Hardin on the board. The Lady Bearcats followed with a free throw, but Kaniya Kendricks answered with a bucket of her own to cut Anderson County’s lead to 6-4.
Central Hardin continued to keep right with the Lady Bearcats for much of the first quarter’s remainder. Trailing 18-12 after an Anderson County 3-pointer, Alyssa Lindsey hit her own shot from outside the arc to cut the deficit to three. Rachel Satterly followed with her second trey of the game to put the Lady Bearcats up 21-15 at the first quarter’s close.
The Lady Bruins continued to stay on the heels of Anderson County for a large portion of the second quarter. After a 3-pointer from Monica Lindsey made it a 30-27 game, the Lady Bearcats began to break away with seven more points over the quarter’s remainder. Central Hardin was held to one more shot from the free throw line and went into halftime trailing 37-28.
While the Lady Bruins were still able to keep the game manageable in the third quarter, Anderson County was able to break further ahead. The Lady Bearcats outscored their opponents 13-11 to finish the quarter up 50-39.
The double-digit deficit didn’t last long. Central Hardin opened the fourth quarter on a 9-1 scoring drive and cut Anderson County’s lead to 51-48.
The Lady Bearcats were able to get some more points on the board as the quarter continued, but the Lady Bruins made it a three-point game two more times before the clock struck zero. Up 58-55 with 12.8 seconds remaining, Amiya Jenkins drained a free throw for Anderson County to bring the game to its final score.
Monica Lindsey led Central Hardin’s scoring effort, finishing with 18 points.
“I’m really proud of us. For that to be the No. 1 team and we only fell by four points, I definitely think we did team ball and we worked together,” Lindsey said. “I’m really proud of us regardless of a loss. I think that was very much a team win for us.”
Central Hardin (9-6) hosts Owensboro Catholic at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
ANDERSON COUNTY 59, CENTRAL HARDIN 55
Anderson: 21 16 13 9- 59
Central: 15 13 11 16- 55
Anderson: R. Satterly 20, Jenkins 16, Smith 9, Chesser 6, Riley 3, Serafini 3, J. Satterly 2. FG: 17. FT: 20-25. 3-pointers: (5) R. Satterly 2, Smith 1, Riley 1, Serafini 1.
Central: M. Lindsey 18, A. Lindsey 14, Gray 8, Kai. Kendricks 7, Kan. Kendricks 6, Reed 2. FG: 21. FT: 7-14. 3-pointers: (5) M. Lindsey 3, A. Lindsey 2