HARRISBURG — When Harrisburg’s normally reliable perimeter game sputtered early against Massac County, the Lady Bulldogs concentrated on pounding the ball inside to 6-foot-2 center Matty Hawkins.

Hawkins made all nine of her shots in the first half. She finished with 27 points as the Harrisburg Bulldogs rolled to their 25th straight win, 66-42.

“We came out, I think this was maybe our worst shooting game of the year,” said Harrisburg coach Jake Stewart. “They just didn’t go down, but Matty was 9-for-9 in the first half. When you aren’t making shots from the outside you have to go down and feed your post.”

The Lady Patriots opened in a 3-2 zone, intent on keeping the ball away from Hawkins, but Harrisburg found a way to get the ball to the block.

“I thought we were late getting to her on the back side,” said Massac County coach Jim Prevallet. “Once she gets the ball down in there, it’s two points. She’s as good a post player as I’ve seen in a long time in Southern Illinois.”

Hawkins had 20 points at halftime as Harrisburg built a 35-24 lead. The Lady Bulldogs heated up a bit from the perimeter in the third quarter, stretching the lead to 50-30.

Massac County spent much of the second half in a 2-3 zone. The middle player in the zone shadowed Hawkins, holding her to seven second half points.

“You take something away, you have to give something,” Prevallet said. “We tried to take her away their other kids stepped up. They penetrate so well. They kick. They’ve got all the weapons.”

Jessica Hopson was the only other Harrisburg player to reach double figures, scoring 14.

Massac County had nine players reach the scoring column, but only Bailey Duckworth (12) and Farrah Castleman (11) had more than six.

“We did play pretty good defense,” Stewart said. “They scored 42 points tonight, our goal is always under 10 per quarter. We were right around that number.

“I thought the first half we didn’t really come out with the killer instinct we need to have to start the game. That’s something we need to address. At some point in time somebody is going to come out and have a good start and that start will carry over to the other quarters.”

les.winkeler@thesouthern.com

618-351-5088

On Twitter: @LesWinkeler​

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Sports editor

Les Winkeler is sports editor and outdoors writer for The Southern Illinoisan.

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