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Down 20-10 heading into the fourth quarter, things looked bleak for the Carroll County Lady Panthers. The team had played well on defense, forcing Henry County to turn the ball over 24 times in the game, but continued to struggle on their shooting, hitting just 5-36 shots for 14 percent from the field through three quarters.
But just when it seemed like the Lady Wildcats (3-10) had the game in hand, the Lady Panthers (4-10) started hitting shots. Carroll went on a 17-2 run in the fourth to pull out a 27-22 come-from-behind win on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
“We haven’t scored 17 points in a quarter in a long time, but it was good to see,” head coach Randy Mefford said. “They started really running the offense and moving better. I changed some things offensively, and I just told them I was really proud of their effort tonight.”
Senior Andie Hardesty started things off by hitting a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Two possessions later, senior Brittany Arvin scored off of an offensive rebound, 20-15.
Henry County hit a free throw on their next possession, 21-15.
The teams traded missed shots before Arvin hit a 3-pointer with four minutes to go. The Lady Wildcats committed two straight turnovers, forcing their head coach to take a full timeout with 3:08 remaining.
On Carroll’s next possession, sophomore Makena Kindoll hit a 3-pointer from the left corner, tying the game. Henry’s Colleen Coomes was fouled on their next trip down the floor and hit the first of two free throws, 22-21.
Coming out of a timeout with 54.4 seconds left and down by one, the Lady Panthers weaved the ball up top, with players rubbing off of screens, and sophomore Kelsey Ogden found herself open on the right wing. She did not hesitate, and she nailed the shot.
“We just ran our regular offense,” Mefford said. “… I didn’t run one set play for any person in particular. I said ‘Whoever gets an open look, knock it down,’ and she didn’t hesitate. … Hopefully Kelsey will gain some confidence from this.”
On their ensuing possession, Henry County’s Kourtney Current shot a jumper that fell short and was rebounded by senior Nikki Hill.
The Lady Wildcats had fouls to give, and the Lady Panthers struggled to inbound the ball from underneath the Henry
basket. Mefford called his last timeout and set up a play with 18.6 seconds remaining.
Hill threw the ball in from the baseline to a wide-open Ogden at midcourt. Ogden hit a left-handed lay-up, was fouled and connected on the free throw for an old fashioned three-point play.
“We had a play we practiced, and we thought we might be able to get it long down to Kelsey,” Mefford said. “Kelsey’s probably our fastest kid, and they couldn’t catch her going the other way.”
Carroll committed just 10 turnovers compared to Henry’s 24, which Mefford said was the difference in the ball game. “Our defense forced them into some turnovers, and that’s what other teams have been doing to us,” he said. “We got more chances and more shots probably because we turned them over so much.
“I told the girls at halftime, ‘We’re going to win this game,’” Mefford said. “… We played some good teams this year, and we’ve been on the short end of a lot of them, and it’s good to get a win.”
Henry County (22)
Clifford 9, Setters 9, Clark 3, Coomes 1.
Carroll County (27)
Ogden 3-9 1-1 8, Kindoll 3-11 0-0 7, Hardesty 3-12 0-0 7, Arvin 2-7 0-4 5.
Henry County 8 6 6 2_22
Carroll County 4 2 4 17_27
3-Point Goals –– Henry County 3-11, Carroll County 4-19 (Arvin 1-2, Hardesty 1-6, Ogden 1-4, Kindoll 1-6, Groseclose 0-1). Rebounds – Henry County 40, Carroll County 27 (Hardesty 10). Assists_Henry County 2, Carroll County 5 (multiple 1). Total Fouls_Henry County 8, Carroll County 11.