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Cats display best 'team effort' in Trimble win, coach says

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By Tommie Kendall

Against Trimble County last Monday night, the Henry County Wildcats snapped a six-game losing streak by defeating the Raiders, 63-49. But more important than a win, it was one of the best team efforts in a long time, coach Jason Holland said.

Three Wildcats reached double digits in scoring with Cody Hinkle (16 points), Ben Roberts (10 points) and Steven Tillett (10 points), eight different players scored, including 19 points from the bench, and Henry had 15 assists, 15 steals and forced Trimble into 22 turnovers.

"It was a big team effort on our part," Holland said. "It was definitely one of our better games we've played as a team. And we needed this win."

The 14-point victory came on the heels of the Wildcats' 57-51 loss to Owen County three days earlier, which left the Cats in a two-way tie with Carroll County for the fourth and final seed in the district tournament next month.

"We lost a tough one against Owen, and for our kids to rebound showed a lot of heart," Holland said.

To go along with the scoring from the trio of Hinkle, Roberts and Tillett, Joey Pollard and Conner Jeffries scored seven points each, Cari Dunaway scored six, Brad Taylor scored five and Trevor Raisor chipped in two.

Henry left the opening quarter with a 13-8 lead and used a 22-point second-quarter performance to grab a 35-26 halftime advantage. Roberts scored eight points during the second quarter, including two three-pointers.

Offensively, the Wildcats struggled during the third quarter with just nine points. But defensively, they held Trimble from making any serious runs.

"We were flat during the third quarter, and got lucky to hold Trimble to just 11," Holland said.

With the win, Henry improved its record to 5-12. Following a win over East Jessamine the day after Christmas, the Wildcats lost games to Middlesboro, Pineville, Webster County, Gallatin County, Carroll and Owen.

Henry finished its regular-season district games at 1-5, compared to Gallatin at a perfect 6-0, Owen at 4-2 and Carroll at 1-5. Gallatin earned the No. 1 seed and Gallatin the No. 2, while Henry and Carroll will have a coin toss this Sunday to determine the No. 3 and 4 seeds.

Walton-Verona 66, Henry 61: The Wildcats had one of their best offensive outputs last Thursday night against the visiting Walton-Verona Bearcats, but allowed the Bearcats to score 66 points in the five-point loss.

"Usually, the first team to get to 60 points wins the game," Henry coach Jason Holland said. "But my goal is to not let a team reach 60. It's unusual for us to give up that many points."

Joey Pollard and Conner Jeffries scored 14 points apiece to lead the Wildcats, while Cody Hinkle scored 12 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, Cari Dunaway scored eight points, Brad Taylor scored six, Ben Roberts scored five, and Steven Tillett, who spent most of the night on the bench in foul trouble, chipped in two.

Henry was ahead 11-10 after the first quarter but behind 28-27 at the half. The Wildcats held a four-point advantage during the fourth quarter before the Bearcats turned the tables with an 8-0 run. They outscored Henry 23-16 during the final eight minutes.

Pollard knocked down three three-pointers to keep Henry within reach and Jeffries' defensive pressure helped as well, Holland said.

"I can think of seven or eight mistakes that went against us, and that's the difference in the ballgame," he said.

Henry took its 5-13 record against Spencer County Monday night and will host South Oldham this Friday at 7:30 p.m.

"Our goal is to finish strong, and get into February and the district tournament on a high note," Holland said.

E-mail us about this story at sports@hclocal.com.