Boley leads E-town past Henderson County
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS — Elizabethtown, rated the tournament favorite, looked the part in rolling by Henderson County 63-36 in the first round of the St. Elizabeth HealthCare/KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Thursday night in BB&T Arena.
Erin Boley, a Notre Dame signee and finalist for Naismith’s national player of the year, led the Panthers. The 6-foot-2 senior had 27 points and 7 rebounds as E-town notched its 30th victory, giving it three consecutive 30-win seasons.
E-town, the 1998 state titlist, was the Sweet Sixteen favorite the past two years but lost to Butler in the 2014 finals and to eventual champ Covington Holy Cross in the quarterfinals last year.
The Panthers get another big-game showdown with Butler in Friday night’s quarterfinals.
E-town Coach Tim Mudd said the difference against Henderson County was his team’s defense. But the Panthers also got a boost from their offense. They hit 9 of their first 11 shots, including 3 of 4 three-pointers, and built a 32-14 halftime lead.
Boley was active early and had 19 points in the first 16 minutes.
“We always want to try to play through her; it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out,” Mudd said. “We got her some good clean looks early, and we got a couple breakaway layups, and that relaxed us.”
Taylor Thomas had 10 points and 6 rebounds for E-town. Jada Stinson and Rachel Warden combined for 15 points and 10 assists.
Henderson County was led by Mikayla Gilbert’s 12 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals.
“Not a whole lot to say. We got outmatched a little bit,” Colonels Coach Jeff Haile said. “We gave it our best effort.”
Boley, who’s been playing for the Panthers since she was a seventh-grader, said whether or not they win a state title won’t “define our season. But it’s been a goal of ours ever since I started playing at E-town.”
Mudd said Butler will present a big challenge in the quarterfinals.
“Butler is probably playing as the best team in the state right now. We played them (in late December and won 60-37), but I don’t put much stock in those games.You game-plan, but you don’t game-plan, if you know what I mean. They’re as talented as any team in the state.”
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