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Washington County girls’ basketball (3-2) is off on the right foot in the 2012-13 season, particularly in district play, where they picked up a pair of wins over the weekend.
The Commanderettes’ 45-28 win over Bardstown on Saturday followed a 67-56 road win at Thomas Nelson just one night earlier. The back-to-back contests started a four-game run of 19th District games and a pair of double-digit wins on the road was the perfect way to start it.
Washington County @ Bardstown
Score: 45-28 Washington County
When: Saturday, Dec. 8
Where: Bardstown High School
Key players: WCHS - Kenya Turner, Nic Brizendine
Game highlights: Washington County’s victory at Bardstown sent the Commanderettes to a 2-0 start in the district, but the poise WC showed away from home may have been what was most impressive.
The Commanderettes jumped out to a 16-4 lead after the first quarter against the Lady Tigers on Saturday, and expanded that gap to a commanding 32-9 advantage by halftime. The inside duo of senior Kenya Turner and junior Jennifer Keene were able to get touches early, combining for 30 points and 10 rebounds. Smalley, however, said it started with his freshmen point guards.
“Lexi Thompson set the stage at the defensive end. She’s at the top of our matchup (zone) and she was able to get a few steals,” he said. “On the offensive end, Nic Brizendine was able to feed the big girls down low. She was the Snappy Tomato’s player of the game that night and she didn’t take but one shot.”
Washington County kept the momentum going in the third quarter, hitting the first two buckets of the second half to put the game further out of reach.
“Against Bardstown I thought our kids came out really focused. We got up 32-9 at the half and got a lot of kids in that game. We’ve got as good of a shot at winning the district as anybody if we come focused and ready to play.”
Turner led the way with 19 points for WC, followed by Keene’s 11 and Thompson’s eight. Brizendize tallied nine assists.
Washington County @ Thomas Nelson
Score: 67-56 Washington County
When: Friday, Dec. 7
Where: Thomas Nelson High School
Key players: WCHS - Kenya Turner, Nic Brizendine, Jennifer Keene
Game highlights: Washington County’s victory on Friday got off to a similar start, with the Commanderettes running out front 16-6 after one quarter, and expanding that lead to 14 at 33-19 with three minutes to play in the half.
Thomas Nelson was able to cut into the lead, but WC still took a 34-25 lead into halftime.
The Commanderettes pushed the lead back to double digits on two separate occasions in the third quarter, including a two-minute spurt that saw Keene put in three baskets inside.
However, a late push, including a three-pointer with 20 seconds to play in the quarter, cut Washington County’s lead to six entering the final period.
WC made a statement early in the fourth quarter with baskets from Turner and junior Riquel Logan, before Logan buried a three with 3:12 left to put WC up comfortably for good at 57-47.
With two early district wins under their belt, Smalley’s team is looking ahead with plenty of optimism.
“It’s the first time in the six years that I’ve been here that we’re 2-0 in the district,” Smalley said. “Especially being on the road in hostile environments, we were able to stay focused and get two W’s.”
Washington County got plenty of notable performances in the game, with Turner posting a 23-point, 10-rebound, seven-block performance and Keene adding 11 points and 12 boards.
Brizendine was the third Commanderette to post a double-double, with 11 points and 10 assists. Logan added 16 points to go with three steals.
“We’ve got a tough week this week with two home games,” Smalley said looking ahead to the next challenge. “It would be nice to go 2-0 and get to 4-0 or 3-1 in the district going into the Christmas break.”
Washington County hosted Nelson County on Tuesday night after press time and will take on Bethlehem on Friday in the second half of a boy-girl doubleheader at WCHS, which begins at 6 p.m.