17th District play, as well as North Hardin’s season, officially got under way Monday night at Charlie Rawlings Memorial Gymnasium in Elizabethtown.
For Lady Panthers coach Donnie Swiney, it wasn’t perfect, but it was still a win.
Elizabethtown went ahead early and remained in control as the game continued to pick up a 65-41 home victory over the Lady Trojans.
“It was ugly. In the second half, I thought we went backwards. First half was pretty good,” Swiney said. “In the second half, the ball didn’t go in the hole as much as it did in the first half. When the ball goes in the hole, everything looks good.”
A 43-point performance in the first half saw the Lady Panther offense slow to 22 more points over the third and fourth quarters.
North Hardin conversely saw an improvement in shooting after returning to the court following halftime, going from 19 first half points to 22 in the second half.
“I was pleased with our second half. I thought in the first half, we had a lot of good shots. They just weren’t falling,” North Hardin coach Whitney Hooper said. “We knew going into this year that this team was gonna take time. We’ve got a lot of new pieces, we lost a lot of production off last year’s team and we’re just trying to find what group’s gonna work and what works for us.”
On defense, Swiney said he was pleased with the Lady Panthers’ effort, but he wanted to see continued improvement in this area as well.
“I’m not too upset other than the fact that I didn’t think we communicated very well. I didn’t think we boxed out very well today,” he said. “We still held the team to right around 40 points. If we can do that, that’s good, but we’ve gotta fine-tune some things.”
Despite Elizabethtown’s offensive slowdown in the second half, it was another impressive night for Leah Macy. The eighth-grader led the team in scoring for the third straight game with a career-high 26 points.
Macy also added 19 rebounds.
“We knew coming into this game we were bigger than them, so once again, we had to dominate the boards. Our offense came off dominating the boards, we got some open shots and we hit some,” Macy said. “Our defense was pretty good, we just had to dominate the boards once again.”
The Lady Panthers quickly jumped out to a double-digit lead on the Lady Trojans and finished the first quarter up 20-10. Elizabethtown followed with another 23 points in the second quarter, while North Hardin was held to nine to send the Lady Panthers into halftime with a 43-19 lead.
The Lady Trojans’ improved shooting in the second half wasn’t enough to overcome their double-digit deficit. The team trailed Elizabethtown 50-27 at the end of the third quarter and finished the game down by 24.
“We have to hit the defensive boards. If we give up as many offensive boards as we did tonight, we’re not gonna win very many games. So working on rebounding and I think If we hit shots, our defense is gonna get even better,” Hooper said. “Overall I was pleased with the way that we kept fighting and I think it’s just gonna take this team time.”
Elizabethtown (4-0) travels to Barren County this evening for a 6 p.m. matchup. North Hardin (0-1) hosts Marion County Thursday at 7:30 p.m. for its home opener.