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Carroll County Lady Panthers played excellent defense in the first half against Collins High School, down just seven at halftime. But the Lady Titans (20-9) came out of halftime with an offensive furry and outscored the home team 23-5 in the third quarter, ultimately winning the game 56-25.
It was Senior Night Monday for Brittany Arvin, Hannah Devine, Andie Hardesty, Nikki Hill and Jayla Tomlinson. The five seniors were introduced before the game with their family, as well as during the starting lineup announcement. Arvin, Hardesty, Hill and Tomlinson started the game with sophomore Makena Kindoll. Devine, who has been out almost the entire season with an injury, dressed and was introduced, but did not play.
The Lady Titans jumped out to an early 12-2 lead in the first quarter. But the Lady Panthers (6-19) did not give up.
Sophomores Kayla Williamson and Kelsey Ogden hit back-to-back 3-pointers to open the second quarter and cut the lead to six, 14-8. Collins’ lead jumped back out to 11 points with 1:10 to go. But Kindoll banked in a short jumper and Hill hit a layup with 30 seconds remaining to give Carroll some momentum heading in to the half, down 21-14.
Unfortunately, Collins’ scoring outburst in the third quarter was too much to overcome. “The thing that hurt us so much was the transition baskets they got and points off turnovers,” head coach Randy Mefford said. “So many times, our team ends up getting panicky with the ball, and I know two or three times we passed it without even looking to see where we passed it to. … (Collins is) as good defensively as we’ve played this year.”
Lady Titan Aaliyah Wells scored 30 points, many of which came off of steals and layups in transition. Mefford said Collins logged 18 steals in the game, and said Wells probably had 10 of those. “She’s ranked third or fourth best player in the region and she’s a junior,” he said. “She will no doubt be the best player in the region next year.”
The Lady Panthers will graduate five seniors this year, all of which played an integral part in this year’s team.
“Brittany Arvin, the girl makes things happen on the court,” Mefford said. “She’s as hard-nosed as we’ve got … I love her work ethic.”
“Nikki Hill has been our leader out there all year,” Mefford said, noting that he moved the guard/forward from her position last season as a post player to a guard this season, many times handling the ball up the court. “She does the best she can out there and just a great leader for us.”
“Andie Hardesty, she’s one who has been a really, really good teammate to everybody,” the head coach said. Mefford has encouraged her all season to be more aggressive, and he said last Friday’s game against Williamstown “was the most aggressive I’ve ever seen her play. If she makes a mistake and you get one going to the basket, you’re not going to make that layup. She’s going to get a hard foul on you, so she’s gotten better.”
“Jayla, she’s just a real great teammate also … She’s helped us mostly in practice and just having somebody on that second group that can kind of help the younger ones. She does some cheerleading also, but she’s been a great teammate as well.”
Hannah Devine played just one partial game in her senior season due to an ACL injury, but Carroll County is not the last time she will be playing ball. Mefford said her soon-to-be college coach, Jeff Hans from Thomas More College, came to the game Monday to watch Devine’s teammates play and be supportive. Mefford said Devine has been cleared and her ACL is completely healed. She will continue to rehab her knee and prepare for college. “I told her coach up there, I’d definitely be up there some next year to watch her play at the college level,” he said.
Carroll’s varsity teams will play a doubleheader against Walton-Verona Friday, with the boys playing at 6 p.m. and the girls following at 7:30 p.m. The boys played South Oldham Tuesday night in their senior night matchup.
The 31st District tournament will be played at Owen County this year. The fourth-seeded Carroll boys will play fifth-seeded Eminence at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 20. The winner will meet first-seeded Owen County at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23. The boys championship is at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25.
The third-seeded Carroll girls will play second-seeded Gallatin County at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22. The winner will play in the championship game on Friday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. Admission to the tournament is $6 per person.