University Heights Academy made it difficult for No. 5 Madisonville-North Hopkins early, but once the Lady Maroons got into a rhythm on Monday night, they weren’t getting out of it.

After having just one point through four minutes of play, Madisonville used a big night from Courtney Peyton the rest of the way to propel it over UHA 61-30.

Lady Blazers’ head coach Derrick Hickman said his team played solid defense early, but once the Lady Maroons started running up and down the floor, it became too much for his girls.

“We played good defense in the first,” Hickman said. “Our girls got tired and they beat us with layups. Our girls weren’t getting back and I bet they had 20 points in transition in the first half and that slowed us down a bit.”

When Madisonville’s offense got going, so did its defense. The Lady Maroons were able to set up their press and make it hard on the Lady Blazers. UHA finished with 25 turnovers in the loss and a lot of them were due to Madisonville’s 1-2-1-1 full-court pressure.

Madisonville took a 40-15 lead into the break and kept the exact same momentum going into the third quarter. A 12-3 run set up the running clock and the game and allowed the Lady Maroons to coast to their 24th win of the year.

While a loss is never easy to handle, Hickman said he wanted to use Monday night’s game to better prepare them for when UHA faces off against Christian County in the Eighth District Tournament next week.

“I told them that’s all it was about for me, getting ready for Christian County,” he said. “This is the kind of ball they play. This was all for Christian County to me. ... It’s a mindset thing with our girls.”

Hickman is also hoping he can have Harmoni Wright back as well, who missed Monday’s game with a knee injury.

“I think she’s about a couple of weeks out,” Hickman said. “She’s got some fluid in her knee. She helps us inside. She helps us get some of those fouls. Fouls are important to us. She holds her own inside when she gets going.”

As the Lady Blazers get prepared for their season finale against Dawson Springs on Thursday, as well as the district tournament next Monday,

Hickman wants to see his team improve in a couple areas between now and next week.

“Our passing, our decision-making,” Hickman said. We’re going to work on that in practice. If we can make better choices and decisions with the ball, we’ll be fine.”

UHA faces Dawson Springs at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Madisonville-North Hopkins 61, UHA 30

UHA (6-19)6 9 3 12 — 30

MNH (24-1)14 26 15 6 — 61

UHA: Lily Hendricks 13, Clarissa Miller 5, Meghan Adams 4, Aniah Dailey 3, Amariya Bass 3, Brianna Daniel 2.

MNH: Courtney Peyton 29, Camryn LaGrange 15, Lindsey Peyton 10, Amari Lovan 4, Kara Franklin 2, Kaitlyn Zieba 1.

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