Girls break slump with win

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By Zack Penalva

Zack Peñalva

Sports Writer

Two separate trips into Bardstown resulted in two losses for the Commanderettes last week. After the 71-14 loss to Nelson County, a run-down Washington County team was unable to rally against the Bethlehem Banshees. But returning to their home court seemed to be the remedy, with the team picking up its second win of the season in a 48-41 victory over Henry County.

“One of the things I’ve said all year long is we’ve got to play hard,” said girls’ head coach Lena Bramblett after the 66-28 loss to Bethlehem. “But tonight we didn’t play hard and it got us beat and beat by a lot…We just didn’t put the effort on the floor tonight like we needed to, for a district game especially.”

A poor opening quarter from the Commanderettes saw them go down 16-0 before Maddy Riley scored the team’s first points from just inside the arc. Buckets from Abigail Mattingly and a three-pointer from Madison Snellen added some life to the team’s flat performance, but the Banshees still led 22-9 going into the second quarter.

Bethlehem’s hot start cooled slightly, but the Banshees had no trouble adding on to the lead as the game approached halftime. There were moments when the Commanderettes looked like they had figured out a way to score. Quick play from the team right before halftime found a way past the Banshees’ high press and allowed Washington County’s Megan Cloyd an easy layup from underneath the basket.

But those moments were few and far between for the Commanderettes. Even with energetic defensive efforts from individuals like freshman Fran Taylor, there just wasn’t enough on either side of the ball to mount any real chance of a comeback. Mattingly finished the game as the team’s leading scorer with eight points.

“At the half we told the girls: we [the coaches] can help you x’s and o’s, we can help motivate you, but we can’t play for you,” said Bramblett. “That part of it you’ve got to start figuring out. We’ve got to have leadership on the floor and it’s got to be consistent. Some games we have it and some games we don’t and tonight we didn’t have it.”

Back on their home court, the Commanderettes found their stride. After a nervy first half ended with the visiting Henry County Ladycats in the lead, the Washington County girls shut down their opponents in the third quarter, outscoring them 15-5.

The Commanderettes rode that momentum through the end of the game, with Snellen and Amber Murphy leading the way with 13 and 12 points respectively. Snellen finished the game with four makes from three-point range.

The girls will travel once again to Bardstown on Dec. 20 to play in the Bardstown Holiday Classic Tournament. Their opening game will come against Bourbon County. That much needed win over Henry County will go a long way on the back of such demoralizing losses. With Christmas break approaching, Bramblett says she expects her team to make strides towards improvement.

“We’ve got to show up every game. We’ve got to be a little more intense in practice. It’s almost Christmas and everyone kind of wants to get away from it, but still, we’ve got work to do.”