Hopkins County Central put themselves in prime position in the race for the 7th District championship thanks to a 47-36 win over Caldwell County in Mortons Gap on Saturday.
After one trip through district play, the Lady Storm have gone 3-0 and have clinched the top seed for the district tournament.
“It feels good to come out with a win in this one,” said first-year head coach Phillip Cotton said. “We hadn’t played in almost a month going into this game and for it to be a district game, the girls knew how important this win was. They laid it all out there and I couldn’t ask more of them.
Over recent seasons, the 7th District has been dominated by Madisonville North Hopkins, but with teams around the district losing key pieces prior to the season, Cotton knows anything can happen come district tournament time.
“I still think this district is wide open,” Cotton said. “But the win today puts us in the best possible position to win the district this year. We do know that the district title is still up for grabs.”
Central (4-5) didn’t show any rust despite not playing a game since Jan. 23 against Madisonville as they started the game off with an 8-2 run in the first five minutes and they did not give up the lead for the rest of the contest.
“They’re grasping what we’re trying to teach them,” Cotton said. “The girls have so much more confidence than they had when I first met them. They’re getting more comfortable with my style of play and how to play with a lead. They’re learning to close out ballgames, and that’s what you need to do to win district games.”
Central was up 14-7 after a quarter of play and went into halftime up 23-16.
The Lady Tigers (3-8) did cut the Central lead to five points in the third, but Madison Grigg drained a 3-point bucket to make it 33-27 Central going into the final eight minutes. The Lady Storm were able to hold on for the win on their home floor.
“It really relieves some stress on us being 3-0 in the district,” said junior Briana Fritz, who led the team with 15 points on Saturday. “It’s been a while since we’ve been the top seed in the district. We get to go into the district tournament a lot more comfortable.”
Central will be back in action tonight at 6 p.m. as they’re playing the first game of a girls/boys doubleheader at Todd County Central.
Caldwell County (3-8) 7 9 11 9 — 36
Jaggers 15; Parker 5; M. Hollowell 5; A. Hollowell 4; Gray 3; Butts 2; Smiley 2
Hopkins County Central (4-5) 14 9 10 14 — 47
Fritz 15; Peyton 9; Grigg 7; Keri Reynolds 6; Sutton 5; Jones 5