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Lady Panthers stumble out the gate to Lady Rockets

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By Kristin Beck

Intimidation may have been a factor in the Carroll County Lady Panthers’ season and home opener against the visiting Shelby County Lady Rockets. Memories of last year’s 9-0 road loss may have echoed in the backs of their minds as they took the field to begin the 2012 campaign.

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The Lady Panthers were down 4-0 at the midway point of the first half and had dug themselves into an 8-0 crater by the half.

“I think they got in their heads, ‘it’s Shelby County,’” head coach Greg Damron said, noting that the girls began the game with their heads dropped, and their attitudes soured from there until the halftime whistle.

However, he said he hopes the girls’ second half play will be more indicative of how his team will compete this season.

After giving up a goal off of a penalty kick within the first two minutes of the half, the Lady Panthers shored up their defense and played with greater determination and toughness.

They held the Lady Rockets scoreless until the 72nd minute when the visitors ended the game on the mercy rule, 10-0.

Damron said he told them at halftime to stand their ground and to play tough. He and assistant coaches Vernon States and Andrea Carr also made adjustments to the defense, pulling the defensive line in tighter to the middle to help close the floodgates Shelby had opened in the middle of the field.

“They did an excellent job in the second half,” Damron said. “I was proud that they didn’t drop their heads. They played and they played.”

On the offensive side of the ball, Damron said the forwards made a few nice runs, but were just not able to finish.

In preparation for Monday night’s match-up, the Lady Panthers played two competitive scrimmages against North Bullitt and Presentation Academy. Carroll lost both contests 2-0, but Damron was proud of the way his team competed.

He said the way his team played in the first half against Shelby is “clearly” not the team that will show up on the field the rest of the season. Rather, their effort in the scrimmages and second half play against Shelby “is what we are capable of.”

“These strong teams, you don’t want to play a whole season of them, but it’s good to play these teams just to get you centered, get you focused,” Damron said. The games toughen up the girls and better prepare them for their district competition.

The Lady Panthers will travel to Cooper Wednesday and Ludlow Saturday before returning home for a district match-up against Henry County Monday, Aug. 20. This varsity double-header with the boys’ team also will be Veterans’ Night. The girls will play at 6 p.m., followed by the boys.