Commanderettes open up with a win

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By Brandon Mattingly


Washington County @ John Hardin
53-40 John Hardin
When: Monday, Dec. 3
Where: John Hardin High School
Game highlights: The Washington County girls’ basketball team sits at 1-2 after winning its season opener last Tuesday and suffering its first two losses this past Saturday and Monday.
WC traveled to John Hardin on Monday night, falling to the Lady Bulldogs 53-40. Game info was unavailable at press time.

Boyle County @ Washington County
57-41 Boyle County
When: Saturday, Dec. 1
Where: Washington County High School
Key players: BCHS - Dee Foster, Hannah Harris WCHS - Nic Brizendine
Game highlights: The Commanderettes hosted Boyle County on Saturday, taking their first loss of the season, 57-41.

Coming off a comfortable win at home earlier in the week, the first half went well for WC, as the teams battled back and forth throughout.

Junior Riquel Logan hit a three-pointer and senior Kenya Turner picked up an early field goal to get WC going, but that would be the last time the Commanderettes’ top returning scorer would record a basket from the field as the Lady Rebels gave Washington County trouble inside.

Boyle County took a 12-10 lead into the second quarter, but WC got two baskets each from freshman Nic Brizendine and junior Jennifer Keene to take a 23-20 lead into halftime.

The Lady Rebels turned the game around in the third quarter, holding the Commanderettes without a field goal and outscoring WC 23-6 to take a 14-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Senior Hannah Harris led the way for Boyle County with nine points in the quarter to spark the rally.

“They outscored us 23-6 in the third quarter and we didn’t punch back,” said Washington County Head Coach Bernard Smalley.

The Commanderettes were unable to respond to the Lady Rebels’ push, as junior Dee Foster poured in nine of her game-high 15 points in the fourth quarter to put the game away.

“The mistakes we made are correctable,” Smalley said. “I was disappointed with the loss, but our kids didn’t quit when we got down 22 and cut it back to 10. Our inside game was 4-for-19, and when we struggle inside like that it’ll be a struggle.”

Brizendine led the way for Washington County with 11 points, followed by Keene and Turner with eight each. Freshman Lexi Thompson pitched in with seven points.

Taylor County @ Washington County
55-31 Washington County
When: Tuesday, Nov. 27
Where: Washington County High School
Key players: TCHS - Hayley Wright WCHS - Jennifer Keene, Kenya Turner
Game highlights: The Commanderettes played host to Taylor County last Tuesday to start the season, kicking off the year with a 55-31 win.

“I’ve been coaching the team for six years and the last time we opened with a win was my first year,” Smalley said. “Taylor has beat us the last four years, so it’s great to start off with a win.”

Veteran leadership proved beneficial early on, as Turner, Keene and Logan got Washington County an early lead that they’d never surrender.

A Logan three-pointer and a pair of Turner baskets, including a three-point play, put the Commanderettes on top 12-2 before Taylor County’s Hayley Wright ended the run with a three of her own.

The deep jumper didn’t do much to slow the WC attack, however, as Keene scored the next five points to help her team to a 19-5 lead after the first quarter.

Keene picked up where she left off in the second quarter, rejecting a shot at the defensive end and hustling downcourt for a basket to push the lead to 17 early in the period.

The Commanderettes pushed the lead over 20 points on a driving layup by Brizendine with three minutes to play before halftime, and WC took a 31-11 lead into intermission.

Freshman Taylor Eldridge got in on the scoring early in the second half with a three-pointer, while Keene continued to stay busy inside, picking up a pair of third-quarter buckets on her way to a game-high 19 points.

Leading 42-20 entering the fourth quarter, Eldridge added another three-pointer, and Turner and Keene pitched in four fourth-quarter points each.

Keene recorded the Commanderettes’ first double-double of the season with 10 rebounds to go with her 19 points. Turner scored 15 points, while pulling down six rebounds. Brizendine turned in a solid all-around performance in her first game as a Commanderette with six points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals. Logan pitched in five points and nine assists, with Eldridge adding eight points and three steals.

Smalley talked about Keene’s big double-double to start the season off.

“Opening night she played really well,” he said. “Nineteen points and 10 rebounds out of her is a big plus. She’s going to have to help with the scoring load all year long and she did a good job for us.”

Washington County is back in action on Friday at Thomas Nelson and at Bardstown on Saturday. The Commanderettes will host Nelson County on Tuesday. All three games are scheduled for a 6 p.m. start.