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The Carroll County Lady Panthers opened their season Monday with a nail-biting 63-59 win in overtime over the Shelby County Lady Rockets. This marks the first time Head Coach Randy Mefford has beaten them in his seven-year tenure as head coach.
“I’m elated,” Mefford said. “It’s exciting to be able to pull off a win against Shelby County. Our girls played their hearts out.”
The Lady Panthers (1-0) jumped out to a 17-point lead midway through the third quarter before the Lady Rockets clawed their way back to eventually take the lead with about two minutes to go in the quarter. The two teams fought back and forth until the end of regulation when Carroll County’s Hannah Devine hit one of two free throws to send the game into overtime.
Devine led all scorers with 28 points, including six of Carroll County’s eight points in overtime.
“She’s worked really hard at her game. She doesn’t play like a sophomore,“ Mefford said. “She knows where the basket is… (and) she’s working to be a complete player.”
Carroll County came out in the first half moving the ball well on the perimeter and hitting four of nine 3-pointers, six of 12 for the game.
In the middle of the third quarter, Shelby County came alive, especially from behind the arc. Senior Taylor Shaw hit six of 15 three-pointers in the game, five in the second half. She finished with a team-high 21 points. The Lady Rockets hit 10 of 33 from behind the arc in the game.
Mefford said he doesn’t expect many teams to be able to score that many three-pointers in a game and was happy that his team was able to keep them away from the basket.
He said the team concentrated, especially in the first half, on keeping the ball away from Shelby County freshman Aaliyah Wells, who has the ability to take it to the basket.
In addition to Devine, senior Marissa Brindley helped keep the Lady Panthers in the game. Brindley scored all of her 14 points in the second half and added six rebounds to her night.
“I’m really proud of Marissa,” Mefford said. “This is her senior year,… and this is her time to shine. She stepped up her game tonight.”
Overall, the Lady Panthers kept their cool and left their home gym with a win.
“We held on enough to pull it out,” Mefford said. “I’m glad to face that adversity head on.”