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The Lady Panthers’ defense smothered the Eminence Warriors, forcing 46 turnovers—including 33 steals—as they glided to season-opening 54-17 victory on Tuesday, Nov. 29.
“We wanted to come out with a lot of intensity and really get after them some and see how good at ball handling they were and see if we could turn them over a lot, and we did,” Carroll head coach Randy Mefford said.
The Lady Panthers jumped out to a 25-2 advantage after one quarter of play, making a comeback near impossible for the Warriors.
“Eminence is a young team trying to build a program over there, and we really hurt them in the first quarter,” Mefford said. “We got off to a fantastic start. It was a good overall team effort from everybody.”
Mefford played all 11 active players on the varsity squad. Senior leader Hannah Devine sat out after being involved in a car accident over Thanksgiving break. Mefford said he is waiting on clearance from the doctors before allowing her to play again.
After an intense first quarter, the Lady Panthers called off the press in the second quarter and settled into their half court defense. The teams combined for just 10 points in the quarter, with Carroll leading 32-5 heading in to the break.
In the second half, the Lady Panthers used their size and power to take the ball inside, and they dominated the offensive glass. For the game, Carroll outrebounded Eminence 58-33, with the home team pulling down 41 offensive rebounds.
Senior Brittany Arvin and freshman Lauren Moore were particularly aggressive in the season-opener. “Brittany Arvin is one of our hardest workers in practice, and Lauren Moore, a freshman, is right behind her. … As a freshman, she’s getting a bunch of rebounds and going after the basketball. That’s hard to teach that real aggressiveness like she’s got.”
Mefford also highlighted the passing of senior Nikki Hill and the offensive and defensive play of sophomores Kelsey Ogden and Makena Kindoll.
“We wanted to set the tempo early, and I was proud that we were able to come out and do that,” Mefford said. “I told the girls in the locker room after the game, we weren’t going to have very many games as easy as this one was; most of them will be really, really tough.”
Despite a successful first-game outing, the Lady Panthers still have areas in need of improvement, in particular, their shooting. The team shot 26 percent from the field, including just 1-21 from behind the 3-point line. They also shot 35 percent from the foul line (7-20), which Mefford said would definitely need work. “That’s going to get you beat in a lot of games. We’re going to improve from the free throw line.”
Overall, the head coach was happy with his defense and rebounding and that he was able to get his bench players some additional experience.
“One thing I like about this team, and I’ve said it before, I think we have really good team chemistry,” he said. “I don’t think they care who scores, I think they’re very willing to share the ball with each other and if they continue to do that and our shooting gets better, we could become a fairly decent team.”
Scoring by quarter:
Eminence: 2 | 3 | 7 | 5 = 17
Carroll County: 25 | 7 | 14 | 8 = 54
Makena Kindoll – 12; Brittany Arvin – 11; Kelsey Ogden – 11; Kayla Williamson – 6; Kirsten Arvin – 4; Andie Hardesty – 4; Nikki Hill – 2; Lauren Moore – 2; Jayla Tomlinson – 2.