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In the battle of the trenches between border rivals Carroll and Trimble counties, the Lady Panthers came out on top, winning 58-51 Friday night in their season-opener.
“We’re tickled to death to get our first win,” Carroll County head coach Randy Mefford said. “I saw them play last Monday when they just destroyed Gallatin County, and they’re a much improved basketball team.”
Junior Hannah Devine lit up the score board in the first half, scoring 20 of the Lady Panthers’ 30 points. She finished the game 11 for 21, good for 29 points, along with eight rebounds.
However, it was not Devine that Trimble County head coach Kerrie Stewart said “broke our back: it was the job Kyndal Curry did on the boards. Too many times, we were in position to make a run, cut it to five, cut it to three, and we’d let her get a rebound, two of three times off of the free throw lane.” Curry notched her first double-double of the season, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 boards.
Carroll jumped out to an early 6-0 lead and was up 13-9 at the end of the first quarter. Devine dominated in the second quarter, shooting five for seven from the field and one from three in the line for 13 points, giving the Lady Panthers a 30-20 advantage going into the locker room.
Foul trouble and Carroll’s defense managed to shutdown Trimble’s Katie Temple, their leading scorer from their opening win against Gallatin County, holding her to just two points in the ball game. The Lady Panthers also double-teamed senior Lady Raider Raegan Black every time she touched the ball, limiting her to three points in the first half. However, Black turned it on in the second half and led her team with 15 points for the contest.
“Every time Raegan touched it they were doubling, and we’ve got to get a little better about putting ourselves into position when she’s able to kick it back out, and we’ve got to be set and ready to score when that happens,” Stewart said. “We’re just a step too slow on that right now, but it will get better. Once we’re able to knock down those shots, that will in turn open Raegan back up because they won’t be able to get away with that.”
Black’s inside play and along with good outside shooting from junior Sara Kuner, who led Trimble with 16 points, kept the visitors in the ball game. But in the end, it was not enough to overcome their early deficit.
Mefford said he was proud of his team’s ability to hold on to the lead down the stretch in their first game of the season. “(We want) to be able to look up at that scoreboard and see a 10-point lead with a couple minutes to go, then we start playing against the clock,” he said. “My teams have always been really good about playing smart down the stretch and not throwing up bad shots, and we did a time or two tonight, but we handled the last three or four minutes pretty well for the first ballgame.”
While three starters returned for his squad this year, Mefford noted his team is still inexperienced at the two other positions. This was the first real taste of varsity action for both senior Jill Butcher, who sat out last season, and junior Nikki Hill. “I was pleased with what I was able to get out of some of those kids,” he said, “and hopefully we can build on this one and prepare for next week.”
Butcher and senior Tasha Hunter both scored seven points and junior Andrea Hardesty scored two points for the Lady Panthers. The team played Southwestern (Hanover) away Tuesday night, but the score was unavailable by press time.