HALL OF FAME
ALL A CLASSIC: Bardstown finishes strong to advance to finals
February 21, 2013Bardstown High School
To face Newport Central Catholic in Sunday's championship
Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 10:05 pm (Updated: January 26, 10:59 pm)
FRANKFORT — Bardstown staved off a late comeback attempt Saturday by Bishop Brossart in the Touchstone Energy All A Classic semifinals, closing with a dramatic flair in a 58-50 win to move on to the championship for the second straight year.
“These guys fought hard for me today,” Bardstown coach James “Boo” Brewer said. “We held on because of mental toughness.”
Senior Devonte Grundy delivered a third straight double-double masterpiece for the Tigers (18-5), punctuating a 26-point, 10-rebound effort with a dramatic pair of dunks in the final 20 seconds to help his team pull away.
“It felt good to finish,” said Grundy, who has tallied 78 points and 32 rebounds through three games in the All A Classic and broke the century mark for career points in the tournament, bringing his two-year total to 116.
Bardstown faces Newport Central Catholic (20-2) in Sunday’s championship at 2:30 p.m. The Thoroughbreds advanced with a 49-44 win over Knott County Central (17-6) in Saturday’s late semifinal. The boys’ championship will be preceded by Owensboro Catholic v. Newport Central Catholic in the girls’ title game at 12:30 p.m.
The Tigers shook loose of the gritty Mustangs (19-4) by outscoring them 30-18 in the second and third quarters, building a lead as large as 41-28 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.
Bardstown was able to maintain a safe lead of eight or more points for the for the next several minutes, but could never totally put 10th Region champ Bishop Brossart away, failing to take advantage of the Mustangs’ atrocious 8-for-25 free throw shooting.
“Missed free throws killed us,” the Mustangs’ Ben Uebel said. “You can’t beat an average team missing free throws like that, and Bardstown is a very good team.”
Still, Bishop Brossart — who lost to 63-60 to Bardstown in the 2006 All A semifinals and bounced back the next year to beat the Tigers in the championship — found a way to mount a rally. Tiger senior Marcus Cosby (17 points) nailed a pullup jumper with 3:50 left to play, making it 47-35, but the Mustangs responded by scoring nine unanswered over the next minute to claw back to 47-44.
That’s when Cosby came up with a key putback of a missed three by Grundy, stretching the lead back out to five and steadying his team in the process with just more than two minutes to go.
“Marcus is a senior, (and) he’s been here before,” Brewer said. “He hit some big shots for us.”
It took the Mustangs another minute to re-rally and cut it to 51-48 with 1:10 to go, but they could get no closer as Tavon Johnson hit three straight clutch free throws to push the Tiger lead back out to 54-48, launching a 7-2 closing spurt.
“We were being smart with the ball,” Cosby said about his team recapturing its poise in the final minutes.
Bardstown has been a fixture since winning the All A Classic title in 2006, compiling a 17-5 record in the tournament while advancing to the championship game four times. The Tigers also won the tournament in 1987, before the small-school tournament went statewide.
Brewer, a player on that 1987 squad, said Bardstown has a chance to put a cap on a fantastic run in what may be the school’s final appearance in the tournament, as enrollment numbers have put BHS in danger of outgrowing the event.
“We’ll find out tomorrow,” he said.