Cards pull away after Kimberland injury

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NC's Maupin keys 23-12 run to finish game

By Peter W. Zubaty, Sports Editor

Shelby Maupin scored 11 of her team’s points during a 23-12 closing run Friday by Nelson County to beat 19th District rival Bardstown, 52-41.

“I was ready tonight,” said the Cardinal junior, who finished with a game-high 16.

The Cardinals’ finishing run came after the Tigers lost their leading scorer, Daizah Kimberland, to a third-quarter knee injury.

Kimberland had 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead her team in just 19 minutes of play, but did not return (see River Rat, left). The senior power forward had just tied the score at 29-29 before coming down awkwardly after having her shot attempt at a go-ahead bucket blocked by Nelson sophomore Cierra Drake.

Maupin wished Kimberland well for a speedy recovery, and said getting a big win over a district rival could provide her team — which has struggled at times to mesh after the graduation of four starters from last season — with some needed momentum.

The win improved Nelson County to 6-8 overall and 3-0 in 19th District play, giving the Cardinals the inside track toward the top seed in the district tournament.

“It did boost our confidence,” Maupin said. “I think it’s really brought us together.”

Nelson coach Kelly Wood said it should be a big boost for Maupin’s confidence as well. He said the junior — who didn’t play as a freshman because of illness — had struggled some over the holidays and was in need of a breakout game.

“It couldn’t happen to a better kid,” Wood said. “She’s the ideal teammate. She’s a super young lady.”

The Tigers (7-5, 2-1 dist.) had a tough time recovering from the loss of Kimberland, as the Cardinals scored six unanswered points following the injury before Jade Turner’s jumper stopped the bleeding with 45 seconds left in the third quarter. Bardstown got as close as four early in the fourth quarter but couldn’t muster enough offense to close the gap.

Bardstown coach Paul Stone said it’s tough to adjust when you’ve prepared to play a game a certain way, then have to tear up the script.

“When your leading scorer goes down … you have to find different ways to attack,” he said.

Stone said the Cardinals’ 29 offensive rebounds were difficult to overcome, as well as the Tigers’ turnover troubles (24 in the game).

Stone said the extent of Kimberland’s injury was unclear. She was examined by doctors Saturday morning after press time and was scheduled to see a specialist Monday.

Bardstown hosted Frankfort in a game after press time Saturday, and the Tigers visit Bethlehem Tuesday for another district game. The Banshees fell to 1-9 overall and 0-3 in district play following a 47-36 home loss to Washington County (4-6, 1-2 dist.) Friday.

The Cardinals host the Commanders Tuesday in the front end of a girls-boys doubleheader.  Nelson County won 74-30 in the teams’ prior meeting in December.