East Hardy Girls Basketball battled through dismal shooting for an early lead in Franklin and trailed by only five points at halftime last Tuesday, but the Wildcats created a whirlwind of five turnovers early in the third period gaining more separation en route to a 51-27 victory.
“We moved the ball around and played well as a team. We kept the momentum up and kept the pressure on them. Once we got those steals, we made good passes and good decisions with the ball,” Pendleton County Girls Basketball coach Micah Bailey commented.
Pendleton County missed its first two field goals to begin the game with rebounds by Brooke Walls and Katie Scott with the latter leading to a foul by the Cougars as Scott notched one free throw at the 7:20 mark.
Both teams missed field goal attempts with East Hardy rebounds collected by Makenzie Blair and Chelsea Keller.
After a jump ball, Keller scored off the inbound pass to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead at the 5:38 mark.
Keller blocked a shot attempt, then Pendleton County was whistled for a walk moments later.
A scramble for a loose ball resulted in a foul by the Wildcats, then East Hardy fumbled the ball out of play.
Keller stole the ball back for East Hardy, but the next field goal attempt hit the rim and Pendleton County’s Katie Scott collected the board.
There was a foul on the Cougars during a trap, then Rebecca Whetzel went for a block and was called for a foul and the Wildcats missed both free throws.
Pendleton County’s Brooke Walls was called for a foul on the rebound attempt, then East Hardy’s Katie Short locked up the ball with Wildcats Ana Young for a jump ball.
Whetzel collected a defensive rebound and was tied up for a jump ball, then Young hauled in a rebound on the other end.
East Hardy’s Perry Whetzel made a steal with the help of Makenzie Blair leading to a basket by Tera Jones at the 2:51 mark, 4-1.
Pendleton County’s Hannah Swigunski made one free throw on the next series.
A minute later, Short stole the ball and was fouled leading to one foul shot made at the 1:39 mark as the Cougars took a 5-2 lead.
Blair snatched a defensive rebound before being called for a charge.
The Wildcats missed another field goal attempt and Short grabbed the carom for East Hardy prior to being tied up for a jump ball.
East Hardy’s Jaden Fleshman stole the ball and assisted Jones on a jumper with 46 seconds left in the first period creating a 7-2 advantage.
Short made a defensive rebound, but the ensuing shot by the Cougars was blocked by Walls to end the first period.
The Cougars missed the first field goal of the second period and Pendleton County’s Brandy Bowers grabbed the rebound.
East Hardy’s Perry Whetzel swiped the ball and was tied up for a jump ball, then Scott hit a jumper for the Wildcats at 7:41.
After a free throw by Jones, Bowers corralled the rebound and fed Young for a basket cutting the deficit to 8-6 at 7:03.
Pendleton County’s Hannah Koontz and Bowers snatched rebounds, then Jones stole the ball for the Cougars before it was stolen back by Young for a breakaway game-tying score at 6:15, 8-all.
“The first half we took care of the ball, actually the first quarter we took care of the ball and in the second quarter we made some mistakes. We made some mistakes and next thing you know, they were up by five points. We were still in position to play ball going into the third quarter, but we had six straight turnovers and they capitalized with points and we were out of it at that point. We gave up, we quit and you can’t win a ball game that way,” East Hardy Girls Basketball coach Bridget Billmeyer remarked.
Koontz swiped the ball and Bowers made an offensive rebound and outback to give the Wildcats a 10-8 lead at 5:58.
Another steal by Koontz led to a putback by Scott after two errant shots and a block by Fleshman.
Scott collected a defensive rebound and was fouled, but missed the one-and-one free throw.
Short drew a foul and hit one of two free throws for the Cougars at 4:53 and Scott hauled in the ensuing rebound, but it was stolen by Blair prior to a walk by Jones.
Young netted a jumper for Pendleton County, then East Hardy answered with two free throws by Jones at 4:06.
An offensive rebound by Walls setup a 3-pointer by Young as the Wildcats kept the momentum going.
Walls hauled in a defensive rebound that led to a jumper by Swigunski to extend the lead to 19-11.
Both teams missed field goals, then Blair’s rebound led to an East Hardy basket by Rebecca Whetzel at the 2:35 mark, 19-13.
Pendleton County missed a shot and the ball ricocheted out of play.
After winning a jump ball, the Cougars stepped out of bounds and the Wildcats missed their next attempt.
Young and Blair traded steals with a foul coming by the Wildcats as Blair netted both free throws at the 1:45 mark cutting the deficit to 19-15.
Rebecca Whetzel made a defensive rebound and drew a foul leading to one foul shot.
Pendleton County’s Haley Moats added a putback with 1:05 remaining in the first half for a 21-16 halftime advantage.
In the last minute of the half, the Cougars missed two field goals and committed one turnover as Pendleton County missed free throws and had one turnover.
Opening the third period, a defensive rebound by East Hardy’s Tera Jones forced a foul before Pendleton County’s Scott drilled a 3-pointer at the 7:29 mark for a 24-16 lead.
The Cougars committed a turnover not getting the ball across mid-court and the Wildcats scored on a third chance shot with a jumper by Scott.
After East Hardy walked, Koontz netted a basket for Pendleton County at 6:17 for a 28-16 lead.
After a couple missed shots in both directions and two jump balls, a rebound by Blair and pass to Jones created a trip to the charity stripe for two shots at 4:52.
East Hardy’s Perry Whetzel collected a defensive rebound, but there was a walk on the ensuing play.
A few missed shots and a couple of fouls on both sides came before a steal by Swigunski which created one free throw at 3:14, 31-18.
East Hardy’s Gabby Miller made a rebound off the free throw miss.
Pendleton County scored eight more points in the final three minutes of the third period to take a 39-18 advantage which included to jumpers by Walls and a 3-pointer by Young as the Cougars hit the rim five times.
Bowers netted a basket for the Wildcats to begin the fourth period, then Walls collected a defensive rebound and Scott hit a jumper to garner a 43-18 advantage at the 7:15 mark.
East Hardy’s Chelsea Keller answered a shot in the paint at the 6:59 mark, 43-20.
Pendleton County lost the ball and the Cougars missed two field goals, then Bowers snatched a board and assisted Scott on a bucket.
Short collected an offensive rebound for East Hardy before a jump ball then Scott grabbed the next carom and it was stolen back by Perry Whetzel.
East Hardy’s Taylor Strawderman drew a foul and netted one free throw at the 5:43 mark.
Just over a minute later, Keller made a steal and scored the ensuing basket for the Cougars.
The Wildcats lost the ball twice more with East Hardy hitting the rim with rebounds by Scott and Keller with the latter turning into an assist as Emma Heishman hit a jumper at 3:40 to cut the deficit to 46-25.
Perry Whetzel added a couple of free throws for the Cougars in the final two minutes as Pendleton County notched several more points for a final score of 51-27.
Katie Scott and Ana Young led the Wildcats with 14 points apiece, while the Cougars were paced by Tera Jones with nine markers.
In JV action, East Hardy won 53-29 with Taylor Strawderman scoring a game-high 21 points and Emma Heishman adding 14 points.