HALL OF FAME
Tigers survive Knights' scare
March 7, 2012Bardstown High School
CECILIA — Bardstown weathered a furious second-half comeback by Marion County, hanging on late for a 63-60 win Monday to advance to Tuesday’s 5th Region championship.
The Tigers improved to 25-9 with the win; Tuesday’s 5th Region championship game against John Hardin occurred after press time for this edition. Go towww.kystandard.com for a recap. Bardstown was in search of back-to-back region championships and its third region title in the past five years.
“It feels good” to be back in the region championship game, Tiger senior Anthony Myrks said, “but we can’t be satisfied.”
Bardstown led by as many as 18 on two occasions in the third quarter, the last time at the 2:40 mark after a Drew Starks stickback made it 46-28. But behind John Southall’s 10 fourth-quarter points, the Knights (20-12) slowly chipped away at the Tiger lead, eventually pulling to within 62-60 on a Latrelle Irvin three-pointer with 4.5 seconds left.
After a Myrks free throw at the other end, Marion County had one last shot at forcing overtime, but Southall’s three try at the buzzer came up short.
Devonte Grundy led the Tigers with 17 points and nine boards, and Cody Ramos added 12 points and 10 rebounds. Southall led Marion County with 22, while Irvin had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
The Tigers enjoyed a commanding 45-27 advantage on the rebounding glass, helping make up for a rough 38 percent shooting night on 19-of-50 field goal tries. Marion County was 19-for-53 from the field.
“We came out tonight and controlled the boards,” Tiger coach James “Boo” Brewer said.
Bardstown started out in an early hole, with Southall knocking down a pair of technical free throws — Myrks was whistled for trying to dunk in warmups — before a second even ticked off the clock. The Knights parlayed that into a 10-3 start that appeared even more imposing after Jordan Brewer picked up two fouls by the 4:40 mark of the first quarter and had to retreat to the bench.
“Any time one of us gets into foul trouble, we feel like someone else has to step up,” said Myrks, who tallied 14 points, seven assists and two steals.
The Tigers rallied back, scoring nine unanswered points to finish the quarter.
The run carried over into the second quarter as Marcus Cosby came off the bench to score eight points during the first four minutes — the junior hit three three-pointers and scored 11 of his 12 points in the first half and also grabbed seven rebounds — to lift his team to a 23-16 lead.
“Cosby kept us in the game,” Brewer said.
Bardstown went into halftime with a 30-22 lead, then caught fire in the early part of the third quarter, opening the half with eight unanswered points as part of a larger 14-4 run capped by a Grundy three-pointer that made it 44-26 and forced a Marion County time out with 3:21 left in the frame, bringing about visions of the Tigers’ regular-season 70-50 blowout of the Knights.
Brewer said his team relaxed a bit after getting the big lead and that he expected the Knights to make a run.
“It didn’t surprise me at all,” he said. “We got up 18 and we just started making some silly mistakes. I’ve got a bunch of seniors, and I told them, ‘we’ve got to finish the game.’ … Give credit to Marion County — they fought to the end and gave us a good scare.”
Marion County managed to score the final five points of the third to pull within 46-33. Bardstown nursed a double-digit lead through the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, but Marion kept whittling away at the lead, igniting the Knights’ crowd at the 1:54 mark when Carlos Litsey slammed home a dunk off a post-up to cut it to 57-51.
Marion County eventually pulled within two points, but solid free throw shooting by Myrks — who hit 5-of-6 from the line in the final 1:07 — helped Bardstown stave off the upset bid.
“Any time a team makes a run you’ve just got to keep playing,” Myrks said.
Bardstown and John Hardin faced off in December, with the Tigers scoring a 55-48 road win. The teams also met last year in the first round of the 5th Region tournament, with Bardstown winning 62-57 on the way to the region crown.
Courtesy of Peter W. Zubaty and the Kentucky Standard.