Illness decimated the Henry County Lady Cats last week.
Henry played its third game against Carroll County down three starters — Colleen Coomes, Cheyenne Clark and Haley Bramblett. Kim Barmore played despite being sick herself.
Despite being down three players, the Lady Cats came into this game hoping to get another victory — they’d beaten Carroll in the North American Steel tournament six days prior — against their rivals in a district seeding game.
Despite the long odds, the Cats led at halftime, and after falling behind by as much as 17 points in the second half made one last spirited attempt at a comeback before falling 42-31.
The game started slowly for both teams offensively, but each team played well defensively.
Carroll County got on the scoreboard first at the 5:45 mark before freshman Hollie Jameson tied the score with two free throws with 4:28 left. The game seesawed back and forth throughout the first period with Carroll taking the lead on a free throw with 3.2 seconds remaining.
The pattern continued in the second period as neither team led by more than 1 point throughout. Ashten Pennington’s 17 footer late in the half gave Henry County a 12-11 lead going into the locker room.
Carroll County came out with a more aggressive trapping defense in the third period, forcing the Cats to commit several turnovers that were converted into easy baskets by the Lady Panthers. Carroll dominated the period 12-2 to take a 23-14 lead into the final period.
The lead grew in the final period until the score reached 33-16. At that point the Lady Cats aggressive defense forced to the Lady Panthers into turnovers and the Cats went on a 15-5 run to cut the lead to 38-31 with about two minutes left in the game.
The Lady Panthers closed the game out by hitting 4-of-4 free throws down the stretch to get the hard-fought 11-point victory.
Coach Todd Gilley was pleased with his team’s effort. “I’m extremely proud of our effort,” he said. “Due to injury and illness most of our girls had to play both the junior varsity and varsity game. There was not one whine, not one complaint, they just played hard.”
Gilley thought the third quarter drought was the key to the game. “We had some turnovers and they hit some key shots,” he said. “We did not attack the press with a purpose and the purpose is to advance the ball up the floor.
“We had no quit in us whatsoever. Most people would quit or give in with the sickness situation and being down, but this bunch has no quit in them.”
The Lady Cats fell to 4-11 on the season, while Carroll County improved to 3-9.
Owen County 65 HCHS 14
As pleased as Gilley was with the effort against Carroll, he was disappointed when the Lady Cats played Owen County on Saturday.
Henry County got off to a good start against the 8th region powerhouse but could not sustain the effort. The Lady Cats led 6-5 early in the period, but began turning the ball over against Owen County’s half-court, man-to-man defense. The Rebels led 20-8 after one period.
The Lady Rebels shut the Lady Cats out in the second period, outscoring them 11-0, taking a 31-8 lead into the locker room.
The Lady Cats managed just 6 points in the second half as the Lady Rebels rolled to the 51-point win.
“We did not get the same kind of intensity from the girls that we did against Carroll County on Wednesday,” Gilley said.
“We need to learn how to sustain focus and intensity from one game to the next. The only way to grow is to persevere through the hard times.”