North-Central girls basketball

Madisonville-North Hopkins’ Irelane Enoch is defended by Hopkins County Central’s TaLana Hardy during Tuesday’s game in Mortons Gap. The Lady Maroons surged ahead early and held on for a 60-38 victory. John Millikan, The Messenger

MORTONS GAP — The Madisonville-North Hopkins girls’ basketball team stepped on the court in front of its largest crowd of the season and against its biggest rival Tuesday night.

The Lady Maroons weren’t fazed.

Flexing their muscles once again, the Lady Maroons jumped out to a 30-point first-half lead against Hopkins County Central and cruised to a 60-38 victory to stay unbeaten.

North (5-0) never trailed in the game and extended its winning streak to 10 games against the Lady Storm, who fell to 1-5 overall.

“This is a big game for everybody coaching and everybody playing, and our kids did a good job of not getting caught up in the hype of the game and sticking with our defensive mindset,” North coach Brent Gibson said. “I am proud of our defense. We didn’t let the crowd affect us and stayed together.”

Central scored the most points against North of any team this year, but the Lady Maroons were still dominant on the defensive end.

“Hats off to North, they game out and executed early,” Central coach Todd Webb said. “They took advantage of every missed rotation and every time that we didn’t get after a ball or box out. They executed really, really well in the first half.”

The Lady Maroons once again had a balanced scoring attack with Adarian Gray leading with 14 points and T’Aliyah Sherman adding 11 points. Molly Stone and Shaniya Whitsell each scored 10 points.

Stone also grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds for her third double-double of the season.

“If there’s a loose ball, Molly Stone is going to go get it,” Gibson said. “She is always battling on the boards, and when you battle the ball seems to come up in your hands. She has a knack for that.”

Central was led by TaLana Hardy, who finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.

“Talana really, really fought and she was one of the kids in the first half who didn’t come out nervous,” Webb said. “She came out battling. You know what you are going to get out of her, somebody scrapping every game.”

Other leaders for Central were Lyric Campbell with 10 points and four steals, and KeKe Ikeard with nine points.

North jumped out to a 20-8 lead after the first quarter and outscored Central 21-7 in the second quarter to lead 41-15 at halftime.

Central, however, held its own in the second half and outscored North 23-19 in the final two quarters.

“I thought we came out really flat and nervous, but once we settled down in the second half, I am proud of them for not laying down and quitting,” Webb said. “We came back and fought and won the second half. If anything the kids showed their resilience tonight.”

MADISONVILLE-NORTH HOPKINS 20-21-11-8—60

HOPKINS COUNTY CENTRAL 8-7-9-14—38

North (60) — Gray 14, Sherman 11, Stone 10, Whitsell 10, Enoch 7, Foster 6, Civils 2.

Central (38) — Hardy 12, Campbell 10, Ikeard 9, Combs 6, Porter 1.

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