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Cool and confident, the Carroll County Lady Panthers held off district foe Henry County 66-56 to claim their seventh win of the season.
Sophomore Hannah Devine led all scorers with 21 points, while senior Sarah Osborne also hit double-digits, scoring 11 points.
The game stayed close through the first quarter and into the second. Tied 20-20 with 5:27 to go in the second quarter, Carroll County went on a 10-0 run, capped off by a drive to the basket by Devine in the last seconds of the quarter.
“That was huge,” Head Coach Randy Mefford said. “I was really pleased at the end of the half.”
In the locker room, Mefford warned his team about the importance of the opening minutes of the third quarter and how Henry County would battle back. True to his word, the Lady Wildcats cut the lead to six, 39-33, with 2:28 to go in the quarter. But the Lady Panthers never got frazzled, scoring seven unanswered to end the quarter up 46-33.
Henry County refused to give up, hitting three three-pointers in the last two minutes and began fouling on every Carroll County possession with 2:43 to go in the game, hoping to capitalize on missed free throws.
“I’ve got to give Henry County a lot of credit,” Mefford said. “They kept fighting and fighting.
The Lady Panthers hit nine of 16 free throws during the stretch, 13-23 in the game, giving them their second win over the Lady Wildcats this season.
Mefford highlighted the play of seniors Marissa Brindley and Mercedes Martin. Brindley scored seven points, along with seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.
“Marissa has come along and been much more aggressive this year and is a threat to score, whereas last year she didn’t really look at the basket too much,” Mefford said.
Martin came in off the bench to score seven points, including a rare three-pointer.
“She gives us energy when she comes into the game, and I like that out of a non-starter,” Mefford said.
Overall, Mefford said he was happy about the win and how his team closed out the game.
“Our team has always done a good job of taking care of the ball late in the game,” he said. “If we get a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, for the most part, we’ve been able to win most of those games. We spend a lot of time working on that stuff and trying to play against the clock, and tonight it showed.”