BENTON – It was a rough night for the Hopkins County Central girls’ basketball team on Saturday, as the team lost to Marshall County at the Gunner’s Magic Train Shootout by a final score of 59-25.
It was the biggest margin of defeat the Lady Storm (5-14) had suffered all season, and their lowest offensive output as well.
Turnovers were a big problem for the Central offense, as the team committed 17 in the first half alone.
“Just didn’t take care of the basketball in the first half,” Central coach Todd Webb said. “They played a zone the entire game, and we didn’t do a good job of making two people commit to us and then trying to move the ball, we were just catching and sticking it over our head where we weren’t a threat to shoot or dribble. Nobody’s going to come out and play you then, they’re just going to play the passing lanes and get a lot of hands on balls, especially when they’re as long as Marshall County is.”
Central’s other major problem came in the form of Marshall (18-4) senior Hannah Langhi who finished the game with 29 points, 23 of which came in the first half.
“She’s the best post player we’ve seen this year, by far,” Webb said. “She was the best post player we saw last year when we played them here at the (Marshall County) Hoopfest.
“Anytime your dad is Dan Langhi, former Vanderbilt and professional player, you know you’re coming from the right pedigree. She’s the best post player in this area of the state, I’d like to see her and (Henderson County senior) Alisha Owens go at it.”
The Lady Marshals got out to a 14-4 lead late in the first quarter, but the Lady Storm got two quick baskets in the final two minutes to make it a single-digit game at 14-8.
But in the second quarter, Marshall took command, outscoring Central 25-2 to take a whopping 39-10 lead into halftime. The Lady Storm struggled with all the issues they were already facing in the first quarter, and then ran into more as some of their key players got into foul trouble.
“Everything became a foul,” Webb said. “(Sophomore Keke Ikeard)’s third foul, she didn’t even touch the kid, (freshman Madelyn Tow) did, they got the numbers mixed up. (Senior TaLana Hardy)’s third foul, I still don’t know what happened, there were a lot of head-scratching calls in the second quarter.
“I hate to lay it off on officiating, Marshall County’s a good team. Would we have beaten them if the officiating was rock solid the whole game? Probably not, just because they had a post player we didn’t have an answer for because we have all guards.”
Hardy and Ikeard shared the scoring lead for Central with 10 points apiece. Hardy also got eight rebounds, while Ikeard got five.
As the Lady Storm have shown time and again through some of their other tough games this season, no matter how bad they were getting beat they refused to stop fighting, even holding Marshall’s backups to just one point in the fourth quarter, and Webb said that’s something they can still hang their hats on.
“They had every excuse to lay down and quit in the second half, and they didn’t, they kept fighting,” Webb said. “That’s why I let them play as long as I did. They wanted to use this as an opportunity to work on stuff, so that’s what we did, we worked on a few things we’ve been tinkering with, and they didn’t give up.”
This coming week will be an important one for Central, as the team is scheduled to face two district opponents: Dawson Springs on the road on Tuesday at 6 p.m., and cross-county rival Madisonville-North Hopkins at home on Friday, also at 6 p.m.
“District seeding will be decided, pretty much for sure, after this week,” Webb said. “We’ve got Dawson on Tuesday, and like I told their coach after the first time we played them the first time, this is the best Dawson team I’ve seen in the three years I’ve been here. They’ve done a good job, they’ve really improved, and then of course, we’ve got Madisonville-North Hopkins on Friday, and that’s always the biggest game on your schedule.”
HOPKINS COUNTY CENTRAL|8-2-9-6—25
Marshall County (59) – Langhi 29, Davis 16, Powell 7, Colson 2, L. Miller 2, Henson 2, Bridges 1
Hopkins County Central (25) – Hardy 10, Ikeard 10, Baxter 3, Hughes 2