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HC Ladycats still looking to get over hump, coach says

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By Tommie Kendall

With Friday night's 35-32 loss to Gallatin County, the Henry County girls' basketball team dropped to 2-9 overall, 1-3 in district play and took a seventh straight defeat.

Henry's Jessica Booher swished a three-pointer basket, her third from the exact same spot in front of the rowdy high school fans in the corner, to give Henry a 13-7 lead midway through second quarter. But the Ladycats, who stayed in front for much of the game, wasn't able to put Gallatin away, and with 2:10 remaining in the fourth quarter, Gallatin knocked down a three-pointer to take the lead for good, 32-30.

Henry couldn't make the tying shot from just inside half-court at the buzzer, which left Booher's fingertips just in time and bounced off the back of the rim, and Gallatin held on for the three-point win.

"What I want our girls to do is scratch, claw and fight until we get over the hump," Henry coach Todd Gilley said. "And when we do that, I think we will be a good team. We just have to claw and fight until we get there."

Henry was executing all night, but couldn't seem to finish. The Ladycats missed 24 shots in the paint, and was just 3-of-10 from the free-throw line.

"I thought we played hard, and I love that with this group," Gilley said. "They always play hard. We just haven't been in the flow yet."

Gallatin went ahead 3-0 before Jenny Kozora knocked down a jumper to make it a one-pont game in the low-scoring contest. Booher's first three-pointer tied the game, 5-5, and her second gave Henry a 8-5 advantage with 3:15 left in the first quarter. Neither team could score again until the second quarter.

After Booher swished her third three-pointer and knocked down a free throw to give Henry a 14-7 advantage, Gallatin started to close the gap. With 12.5 seconds left until halftime, Gallatin converted on a three-point play to pull within one point, 16-15, and after a Henry turnover, Gallatin hit a three-pointer with just three seconds left to give them a 18-16 lead at the half.

The Ladycats were behind until 3:15 left in the third when Kozora scored to put Henry ahead 21-20. Going into the final period, the Cats were in front 23-20.

Henry built its lead to six points, 28-22, before Gallatin played its way back into the game. With three minutes remaining in the contest, Gallatin closed the gap to just one point, 30-29. A three-point Gallatin basket then put them in front, 32-30.

In the closing seconds, Kelsey Mings drove the ball the length of the court, grabbed her own rebound and scored to pull Henry within two points, 34-32, with five seconds left. Gallatin was fouled before the ball was in-bounded, sending a Gallatin player to the free-throw line at the other end.

Gallatin hit the first, missed the second and Henry called a timeout with 4.5 seconds left. Booher passed the ball down court to Crawford, Crawford passed to Tyler Sadler on the wing and Booher got the ball back just inside the Wildcat painted at midcourt, where she took the last-second shot.

The long-range attempt was close to being right on the money, but bounced off the back of the rim after time had expired.

"I thought we ran that last play well considering we are so young and most of our players have never been in that situation before," Gilley said. "Overall, I thought we handled Gallatin well. They are very physical, we just didn't finish our baskets."

For Henry, Booher led the squad with 10 points. Kozora scored six points, Mings and Sadler scored four points each, while Jean-Anne Moore, Brittany Crawford, Kelley Everidge and Taylor Clark scored two points each.

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