HALL OF FAME
BOYS' BASKETBALL: Tigers fall at E'town
February 21, 2013Bardstown High School
Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 1:24 pm
With the Elizabethtown Panthers missing one of their best players in junior guard Ja’Von Cotton, Chas Jones knew someone needed to step up.
Jones answered the call Friday with 22 points, eight rebounds and four big steals to help the homestanding Panthers upset 5th Region rival Bardstown, 72-58 at Charlie Rawlings Memorial Gymnasium.
“Chas is one of those players who’s real sneaky,” Elizabethtown coach James Haire said. “He has very quick hands and the way he moves, you think he’s just barely running but he’s the fastest person on the team. He played big and got some big buckets.”
Cotton missed the game because of a concussion, but Jones gave the Panthers (14-10) a huge lift after halftime, scoring 14 after the break and helping Elizabethtown to a 12-0 run late in the third quarter to pull away from the Tigers (21-7).
“Everybody knew they needed to step up, especially with Ja’Von out,” said Jones, who was 6-of-9 from the field and 10-of-12 from the foul line. “We needed to get scoring from someone. It’s a good win. We need to keep winning heading into the district tournament.”
Jones converted a three-point play at the start of the third to give Elizabethtown a 34-33 lead — its first since they led 23-21 in the second period. The Panthers never trailed again. Jones hit two more free throws with 5:54 left in the third and sophomore post Zane Najdawi scored on a putback to make it 38-33.
After Bardstown senior guard Dee Yocum drained a three-pointer, Elizabethtown stretched its lead to 43-36 on a basket by junior forward Dominique Harding.
“I know basketball is a game of runs and I knew we’d do something at something point,” Haire said. “It’s really good for these guys because we really haven’t played as a complete unit all season. But some people stepped up for us, and that’s what you’ve got to have.”
Senior guard Marcus Cosby hit a three with 3:02 left in the period, slicing Bards-town’s deficit to 45-40, but the Tigers didn’t score again until the start of the fourth.
Jones and Elizabethtown, meanwhile, were heating up. Senior guard Nic McDonald drained a three and had a layup, Jones had another three-point play, sophomore forward Tristan Johnson hit a short jumper and Najdawi sank two free throws for a 57-40 lead going to the fourth.
“It got our momentum going and gave us some encouragement that we could stick it out and win,” Jones said.
Bardstown turned the ball over eight times in the period and had 20 turnovers total.
“The third quarter they got on a run because of our careless passes,” Bardstown coach James “Boo” Brewer said. “They capitalized off our turnovers. We just didn’t take care of the ball. It’s very frustrating because we didn’t turn the ball over in the first half.
“This is a learning experience for us,” he added. “This is something we’ll take and hopefully get better from. But you can’t take away anything from Coach Haire and his bunch. We’re supposed to be one of the top teams in the region. We came in here and they just manhandled us.”
Cosby, who led the Tigers with 14 points, ended their scoring drought when he hit a 3 with 7:46 left to play. Bardstown got within 60-51 when senior guard Devonte Grundy converted a three-point play with 5:48 to go. But that was as close as the Tigers would get.
Sophomore guard Keanu Young and Grundy each scored 11 for Bardstown, which was 6-of-12 from the arc in the first half but just 4-of-17 in the second.
“We got some good looks and we can shoot the ball, but we’re going to have nights like that and that’s part of it,” Brewer said. “I’m not disappointed. I’m disappointed in the loss, but my guys played hard. It’s just a learning experience for us. Hopefully we’ll see them again.
“We hung in there in the first half,” he added. “The third quarter is what really got us. You can’t take anything away from E’town; they’re a great ballclub.”
Josh Claywell is a sports writer for The News-Enterprise in Elizabethtown and can be reached at (270) 505-1752 or firstname.lastname@example.org.