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The Carroll County Lady Panthers dismantled Gallatin County’s offense during the second half en route to a 52-39 basketball victory at home on Saturday, Jan. 9.
The Lady Wildcats roared out of the starting gate eager to score a repeat win over their border rivals. Gallatin had taken a 43-39 win at Warsaw on Dec. 19. Gallatin raced to an 8-2 lead after one quarter of play and fronted 15-4 with 6:40 to go in the second quarter. At that point Lady Panthers Head Coach Randy Mefford called a time out to get his typically slow-starting team on track.
“We started slow,” Mefford said. “I called time out because I didn’t want the game to get away from us. We gathered our composure at that point.”
The Lady Panthers outscored their visitors 14-6 during the remainder of the period to pull within 23-18 at halftime.
Both teams struggled in the early minutes of the third period before the Lady Wildcats began to disintegrate at the hands of Carroll’s tenacious defense. The Lady Panthers forced 22 Gallatin turnovers, eight of them in the third quarter. Carroll County generated 14 steals in the contest, seven of them by sophomore Hannah Devine.
“Our defense was the key in the second half,” Mefford said. “Defensively, we tried to take away their inside stuff. They got some threes on us in the first half, and we did a better job defending those in the second half.”
The Lady Panthers’ first lead, at 32-31, came on a free throw by junior Kyndal Curry with 28.9 seconds left in the third quarter. The Lady Wildcats never led again. Carroll outscored Gallatin 16-8 in the third quarter and out-pointed the Lady Wildcats 18-8 over the final eight minutes of play.
“For us to come on in the second, third and fourth quarters and play as well as we did that was very gratifying,” Mefford said.
Offensively, Carroll County had a very balanced scoring attack from the five starters. Devine led all scorers with 18 points. Curry fired in 11 points, senior Marissa Brindley had 10, junior Tasha Hunter added seven and senior Sarah Osborne contributed six. Seniors Jenna Goff and Mercedes Martin saw action in all four quarters in reserve roles.
“I thought everybody played real well,” Mefford said.
The Lady Panthers will meet Walton Verona in the first round of the Class A Regional Tournament at Gallatin County tonight. Carroll lost an overtime squeaker at Walton Verona on Dec. 7, 48045.
“We play the number two team in our region in Walton Verona,” Mefford said. “We got a tough draw but if we play with a good mindset we might end up earning a trip to Richmond.”