HALL OF FAME
ALL A CLASSIC: Tigers press on
February 21, 2013Bardstown High School
Big 29-3 first-half run the difference
Friday, January 25, 2013 at 11:54 pm
FRANKFORT — Bardstown turned the playing floor at the Farnham Dudgeon Civic Center into its own personal runway Friday against Richmond Model, unleashing a devastating 29-3 first-half run to advance to the Touchstone Energy All A Classic semifinals with an 80-63 win.
“That run was pure determination,” Bardstown coach James “Boo” Brewer said. “They wanted it.”
The Tigers (18-5) faced a familiar foe — 10th Region champ Bishop Brossart (19-3) — in Saturday’s semifinals after press time (go to www.kystandard.com for results) with a berth in Sunday’s championship (2:30 p.m.) on the line. Bardstown made it to last year’s championship, where they fell 52-51 to Covington Holy Cross on a last-second three-pointer. Bishop Brossart advanced with a 62-46 win Friday over Russell (19-5).
The Tigers and Mustangs, both regulars at the tournament, have met twice before in the All A Classic competition, with Bardstown winning in the 2006 semifinals on the way to the title, and Bishop Brossart topping Bardstown in the 2007 championship game.
“We plan on going back (to the finals) and winning this year,” said senior Devonte Grundy, who was unstoppable with 31 points and 12 rebounds, both game-highs, as well as three assists and two steals.
Model (18-4), the 11th Region champs, showed itself to be a plucky opponent early on as the Pats and Tigers traded baskets for the first few minutes. The Patriots got the partisan crowd really rolling when Jon Ballard (27 points) scored inside to put his team up 17-12, Model’s largest lead of the game, with 1:21 left in the first quarter.
But almost as soon as the Patriots’ fans got in a frenzy, the Tigers silenced them as Grundy stepped up to nail a three to cut it to 17-15, then tied it up on a pair of free throws a few seconds later after a Model turnover. The Patriots coughed it up two more times before an L.J. Cowherd layup put Bardstown up for good, 19-17, as the first quarter buzzer went off.
“We stepped up on defense and did what we had to do,” Grundy said. “We tried to make stops, and sometimes we didn’t, but we tried to keep our heads up and play.”
The second quarter offered little respite for the Patriots as the Tigers doubled down on the 7-0 spurt to end the first with a matching 7-0 run to open the second frame as Marcus Cosby (18 points) hit a three and Keanu Young (10) came off the bench for back-to-back buckets, making it 26-17. Model finally stopped the bleeding temporarily when Ballard scored on another layup with 5:22 left in the first half, closing a nearly four-minute stretch of futility that saw the Patriots commit six turnovers and attempt zero field goals.
“I don’t think we got the ball across half court there for a couple-minute span,” Model coach Wes Scarberry said.
Scarberry’s nightmare didn’t end with Ballard’s bucket, though, as Bardstown again clamped down, this time with an 15-1 run over the next four minutes and change, a stretch capped by a field goal and two free throws by Cosby that made it 41-20 and had Model players tugging on their shorts in exhaustion. In all, Bardstown forced 13 of Model’s 20 turnovers in the first half.
“One thing we focus on is staying in shape, and if we stay in shape, we can run the whole game,” Cosby said. “When we turn up the defense, it’s hard for other teams to keep pace.”
Model showed its last gasps of life with a small spurt at the end of the first half to cut the lead to 42-27 at the break, then got as close as 44-34 on Zach Rice-Gordon’s three at the 5:23 mark of the third. But Bardstown quickly gathered itself and went on yet another run, this time a 24-8 stretch to close out the third quarter, giving the Tigers their biggest lead of the game at 68-42.
“I was concerned (when Model cut it to 10 to start the third), because we have a very young team,” Brewer said. “They hit some tough shots, but we finally got back in synch.”
Bardstown was never seriously threatened in the fourth quarter. The Tigers ended up with a 38-25 advantage on the rebounding glass, and dominated several other categories, including points off turnovers (23-12), second-chance points (14-4) and bench points (13-0). Seivon Schooling gathered 10 boards to go with his six points, two blocks and two steals for Bardstown. Model got 17 points from Rice-Gordon.
The Tigers hit on 32-of-67 from the field and 7-for-21 on threes, while the Patriots were 22-for-47 overall and 6-for-15 on treys.
Scarberry said his squad had no answers for the Bardstown press or Grundy, who he called a “spectacular talent” who created numerous matchup problems for the Patriots.
“I’m excited to see what he does in the future — we couldn’t defend him at all,” Scarberry said. “We played an extremely good team today, a very good team. My hat’s off to them.”