3-Cliff Hangers in 2-Nights! Part 2 North Hardin @ Elizabethtown
3-Cliff Hangers in 2-Nights! Part 2
North Hardin @ Elizabethtown
By the time the Bardstown @ Bethlehem overtime thriller was finally coming to an end, another serious rivalry was about to tipoff at Charles Rawlings Gymnasium at Elizabethtown. Because the JV game ended so late, varsity tipoff came a little after eight o’clock and it featured one of the premier 17th District matchups in the state of Kentucky.
Although both have been contenders for some time for both the Region and State title, the two basketball programs had fallen on hard times this season as the Panthers had come into this game with just seven wins and the Trojans just five after both lost multiple starts the last two seasons, but this was still North Hardin and Elizabethtown so to chance to renew the rivalry and put a loss on your rival is always fun. Still, it all came down to a last second layup by sophomore Camden Williams, a leaning shot over Eric Moore which came with as time was running out that gave the Panthers the 65-64 win in a game which may have defined both teams fortunes so far. Williams was the cataylst for an Elizabethtown as he scored 34-points and pulled down five rebounds in the win as admitted that the play was not designed to go to him, but just to find the open man against a 1-3-1 zone that the Trojans came out in.
The Trojans, who trailed early and were coming off a loss to Bullitt Central in Adair County had appeared to come back after a slow start taking a late lead taking a 32-29 halftime lead, but missed numerous chances to expand the lead and put the game away. In fact, the Trojans were unable to convert a layup opportunity late which set up the Panthers game winning situation. Elizabethtown, on the other hand tried to keep it close by turning the ball over and shooting 13-24 from the free throw line.
North Hardin was just as generous missing multiple layup chances trying to take advantage of their size and hitting just 11-25 from the charity stripe despite hitting nearly 48% from the field. Still, with 1:17 remaining the Trojans had a 62-61 lead after Williams converted on the Elizabethtown side of the court and Eric Moore added a point going 1-of-2 from the free throw line, but Jaquias Franklin made two free throws on the other end to tie it up at 63-63 with 00:35 left. North Hardin then went up again with Moore getting fouled and hitting one making the score 64-63 and then had a huge chance to end it after Elizabethtown threw the ball away giving the Trojans a fast break opportunity, but a missed layup set the stage for Williams dramatics.
Despite the loss, Trojan head coach saw some things he felt good about. After starting 4-9, the Trojans staged a furious rally down by 15-points against Central Hardin on the road that just fell short and now against a young Panther team which wasn’t quite as tall as in recent years they overcame an early deficit, but simply were unable to find a way to put the game away. Cofer will also look back on the missed layups as evidence of that. Panther coach James Haire will look at this game as a stepping stone to a bigger picture. After losing all five starters from last season’s contending team, the longtime coach really had no idea what to expect with a smaller team, but they fight and have shot the ball well and in a clutch situation he found out something else that when the game is on the line just give the ball to Williams because he knows what to do with it.