Prior to Sunday’s game, it had been over a week since Elizabethtown boys’ basketball had played a game and almost two weeks since North Hardin had played one.
The Panthers’ last game was a Feb. 13 win over then No. 1 Bowling Green, while the Trojans had last played Feb. 9 in a victory over Bullitt Central.
It was No. 5 Elizabethtown that would come out victorious in the 17th District foes’ return to action, picking up an 85-50 home win over North Hardin.
“I thought we did a good job defensively. I realize that through the past week North hadn’t had a lot of practice and we haven’t been in the gym much either,” Elizabethtown coach James Haire said. “The score doesn’t indicate how good North is, but I was pleased with our guys.”
Elizabethtown was coming off a longer two-week break in play the last time it met North Hardin on Jan. 30 in Radcliff. While the Panthers won that game as well, it was a much closer game during the first two quarters, with the Trojans going into halftime up a point.
It was a different story Sunday evening, with Elizabethtown controlling the game from much of the first quarter onward.
“I just thought our defense caused a lot of good things for us this time,” Haire said. “More than it did last time.”
A game-opening bucket from Jujuan Williams put the Trojans on the board first, but a 3-pointer from Camden Williams put the Panthers in front shortly after at 3-2. The two teams again traded leads when a shot from Queshaun Davis made it a 4-3 North Hardin lead, only for Elizabethtown to again take control at 5-4 off a basket from Kam Sherrard.
After Williams tied it at 5-5 with a free throw for the Trojans, Alandre Murphy hit his own shot from the line to put the Panthers back up at 6-5.
Elizabethtown would not surrender the lead again. The Panthers finished the first quarter by adding another 18 points, holding the Trojans to two more points in the same span to head into the second quarter with a 24-7 lead.
Elizabethtown continued to build and maintain its advantage through the remainder of the first half and went into the break up 46-21.
The third quarter was the most productive for the Panthers offensively as the team poured in 31 more points to make it a 77-33 game ahead of the fourth quarter. North Hardin was able to cut into the deficit in the game’s final minutes, but Elizabethtown was still able to finish ahead by 35 points in the district win.
“They were physical. They’re a senior-loaded team that’s physical. They got out in the passing lane, they pressured us. We didn’t run any type of offense and it showed,” North Hardin coach Mike Cofer said of Elizabethtown’s defense. “I think their pressure was indicating that and it got us out of what we wanted to do, so give them a lot of credit. Coach Haire always does a great job, that’s a really talented team and we’ve just got to get our heads up.”
Elizabethtown (10-1) travels to Christian Academy Louisville at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. North Hardin (5-5) also travels to Louisville Tuesday for a 7:30 contest at Evangel Christian.
E’TOWN 85, NORTH HARDIN 50
E’town: 24 22 31 8- 85
North: 7 14 12 17- 50
E’town: Kh. Sherrard 16, C. Williams 16, Murphy 14, Moberly 13, Ka. Sherrard 13, Franklin 7, McNeil 4, J. Williams 2. FG: 35. FT: 8-11. 3-pointers: (7) Kh. Sherrard 3, Moberly 2, Ka. Sherrard 1, C. Williams 1.
North: Boykins 12, Ay. Evans 9, Williams 6, Reeves 6, Davis 5, Blizzard 3, Al. Evans 3, Scisney 2, Gregory 2, Alfonso 2. FG: 18. FT: 9-15. 3-pointers: (5) Reeves 2, Blizzard 1, Davis 1, Al. Evans 1.