HALL OF FAME
BOYS' 5th REGION ALL A CLASSIC CHAMPIONSHIP: Tigers blast Eagles to make it 3 in a row
February 20, 2013Bardstown High School
Bardstown to meet Mayfield or Carlisle Co. at 8:30 a.m. Thursday in All A state
Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 12:38 pm
FORT KNOX — When Bardstown visited Bethlehem less than two weeks ago, the Tigers opened the game with an 11-2 run and won by that same nine-point margin, but with the Eagles hanging around the whole game.
But in Friday’s All A Classic 5th Region championship at Fort Knox, the Tigers left no doubt who had the upper hand whether on post or in the Bourbon City, holding the Eagles to just two points over the first 5:38 and parlaying that into a crushing 25-6 opening salvo in scoring a dominating 72-48 win.
“We came out and played great defense, and the guys did a good job,” said Bardstown coach James “Boo” Brewer, who is 3-for-3 in All A region finals.
The win ensured Bardstown (15-5) a third straight small-school region title and a chance to take care of what Tiger coaches and players call “unfinished business” in Frankfort at the Touchstone Energy statewide All A Classic at Frankfort’s Farnham-Dudgeon Civic Center, where they open first-round play against the 1st Region champ at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. The Tigers led most of the game in last year’s championship against Covington Holy Cross, but had their hearts ripped out by a desperation three at the buzzer in a 52-51 loss.
“It feels good, because we get another chance (to make a run at a title) after what happened last year,” Grundy said.
The Tigers’ senior trio of Devonte Grundy, Dee Yocum and Marcus Cosby accounted for 22 in the first quarter, a frame highlighted by Yocum making a diving steal and passing to a streaking Grundy for a breakaway dunk at the 1:04 mark. A few seconds later, Grundy scored off a turnover, splitting defenders for the bucket and canning the bonus free throw to make it 25-6. Yocum and Cosby each hit a pair of threes during the spurt.
“We put a lot of emphasis on defense,” Yocum said. “We’re an up-tempo team, so defense is the key to our chances.”
Things settled down some in the second quarter, but the Tigers still ended up extending their lead to 41-18 by the time the first half drew to a close. Bardstown hit at a blistering 16-for-30 clip, while Bethlehem (15-3) languished at 7-of-22. The Eagles coughed up 11 turnovers in the half, with Jordan Cooper-Livers doing all he could to keep his team afloat, scoring 13.
Things didn’t get much better for Bethlehem in the second half either, as they could get no closer than 21 the rest of the way. Grundy scored 25 to lead the Tigers and had six boards, while his runningmates combined for another 30, with Yocum knocking down 7-of-10 from the field and Cosby hitting four out of seven tries from three-land. Grundy opened the season with a flurry of 30-point games, having to carry a bigger load while Yocum and Cosby healed from injuries, but has been able to sacrifice some of his scoring to the benefit of the team during a stretch that has seen Bardstown win 10 of its last 11.
Bardstown also got key contributions from others, including 10 rebounds from junior Seivon Schooling, who helped his team to a 32-26 advantage on the glass and a 9-0 margin in second chance points. Cooper-Livers gave a valiant effort, scoring 31 to go with five boards for Bethlehem, but the senior didn’t get much backup.
“They really got after us — they brought the intensity, and we didn’t match that intensity,” Bethlehem coach Artie Braden said. “Bottom line is they converted the turnovers and rebounded on the offensive glass.”
The hot streak has the Tigers thinking about taking the next step after last year’s disappointment. They open play against either Mayfield (10-9) or Carlisle County (13-7), who met in Saturday’s 1st Region All A championship after press time for this edition. Carlisle won the team’s prior meeting this season, 55-54 in December.
“Our chances are pretty good,” Brewer said, hoping his team will climb one more rung on the ladder this year after being knocked out in the first round in 2011.
The Tigers will get a warm-up chance Tuesday at Washington County in a girls/boys doubleheader. The Eagles will try to dust themselves off Tuesday at Whitefield Academy. Bethlehem advanced to the championship with an 80-60 win over Fort Knox on Thursday. Cooper-Livers led the way with 29, while Harrison Rogers added 18. Ben Rossoll added 12 points, four assists, seven rebounds and six steals.