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Carroll County struggled against Gallatin County’s pressure defense, committing 27 turnovers en route to a 48-36 loss at home.
“That’s the difference in the game,” Panthers head coach Carroll Yager said. “We missed some easy shots around the basket, probably four or five at least, right there at the basket … that could have been a difference too. Big thing is we have to handle the ball a bit better. We’re going to keep working on things to do that.”
Despite the miscues, the Panthers were tied with the Wildcats heading into halftime, 24-24.
Carroll used a box and one defense against Gallatin, with Carroll senior Evan Mefford taking on Gallatin senior Travis Davis. Mefford stayed glued to Davis, holding the star point guard to just three points. His lone basket game on a steal with 2:10 left in the second half. He took the ball in for a layup and was fouled. Davis made the free throw, giving him 1,000 points in his career.
Yager said he used the strategy, not because of Davis’ scoring ability but because of how he controls the game. “So much of what they do goes through him. We were just trying to get them doing something a little different than what they normally do, have someone else bring the ball down the floor, have somebody else do a few things different.”
The Panthers struggled to score coming out of the locker room, outscored 10-2 in the quarter. They turned the ball over six times, including three from the Wildcats’ full court press.
“They get you dribbling out of control a lot,” Yager said of Galatin’s press. “They rotate really well, and they trap really well. From a standpoint of defense, they put pressure on the ball so much that the person has to really stay strong with the ball, and they capitalize on fundamental weaknesses. Like there were times when we didn’t break to meet a catch … maybe there was a ball right there that was close and we didn’t catch. It was a combination of a lot of things, but they are very good defensively.”
Junior Dallas Gibson scored their only basket about midway through the quarter. Junior Trey Boles blocked Gallatin’s shot and threw an outlet pass to junior John Perry, who threw the ball ahead to Gibson for the score, 26-32.
Carroll cut the lead to five off of a basket by senior John Walls with about five minutes to go, but could not close the gap any further.
Walls led the Panthers with 12 points, followed by junior Brandon Stewart with 9 points.
Yager said his team did have some positives in the game, including their defense against a “very good offensive team.”
Heading into their next game at home against Cooper Thursday, Yager said his team needs to work on a combination of fundamental things associated with handling the basketball, including breaking to meet passes, slowing down on the dribble and being more deceptive with passes. “I think the things we’re talking about (are) things that we can work on and get better at,” he said. “It’s not like we’re at a point where we have no hope. I think we have a lot of hope; it’s just a matter of getting this fixed. But we’ve got to get it fixed.”
Gallatin County (48)
Morgan 19, Ingram 9, Z. Brown 8, Hill 4, Davis 3, Herdon 2, N. Brown 2, O’Connor 1.
Carroll County (36)
Walls 12, Stewart 9, Gibson 6, Mefford 5, Boles 2, Crowell 2.
Henry County 13 11 10 14_48
Carroll County 14 10 2 10_36
Collegiate game moved
Carroll County will travel to Louisville to take on Collegiate on Saturday, Jan. 14. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for Jan. 9.