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The Hardin-Central Bulldogs got their offense untracked in the opening game of the CLAA Tournament at Tina-Avalon. After struggling the past two games, the Bulldog offense picked up the pace in a 66-38 win over Norborne in Saturday’s play-in game.
The Bulldogs, the No. 7 seed, will meet No. 2 seed Hale Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. in a rematch of last year’s CLAA and district title meetings, while the Pirates are eliminated.
Hardin-Central played a bit sluggish in the first half according to coach Kirk Thacker, but still the Bulldogs managed to hold a 27-15 lead.
“Norborne gave us a good first half, but then we settled down and played hard in the second half,” he said. “We were very sluggish at the beginning. Mark (Carpenter) had a big game at both ends tonight. We want to continue to play good ball and make some noise in this tournament.”
Carpenter’s double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds guided the Bulldogs as they improved to 8-12 for the season. Daniel Carpenter hit for 13 points with 6 assists and 3 steals. The Bulldogs had two more in double figures with Patrick King and Chris Herring each hitting for 11 points, with King grabbing 8 rebounds while dishing out 3 assists.
Randy Estenbaum scored 5 points, with Chris Wilson and Grant Wheeler adding 3 each. Wilson had 5 rebounds.
Jarrod Green led the Norborne scoring with 13 points.
Hardin-Central held a 14-7 lead after the opening 8 minutes. The Bulldogs stretched their halftime lead to 50-27 after three periods and then outscored the Pirates 16-11 in the final frame.