HALL OF FAME
Tigers top Cards
February 27, 2013Bardstown High School
boys’ 19th district tournament
Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 6:09 pm
PETER W. ZUBATY
SPRINGFIELD — Bardstown lived up to its No. 1 seed Wednesday, running away from Nelson County in the second half on the way to a 61-44 win to advance to Friday’s 19th District championship against Bethlehem.
The Tigers and Eagles face off for the fourth time this season at 7 p.m. tonight at Washington County High School. Bardstown (23-8) won all three prior meetings, the last one by 24 points a month ago in the All A Classic region championship.
“Bethlehem is a great ballclub — this is our fourth time playing them and hopefully we’ll get a fifth time as well,” Bardstown coach James “Boo” Brewer said.
Nelson County played a packed-in zone defense to cut down on the Tigers’ penetration, and displayed a lot of patience on offense.
“We felt like we had to shorten the game and limit the possessions,” Nelson coach William “Bev” Hart said.
That patience served its purpose early as the Cardinals (9-19) found themselves down 13-8 at the end of the first quarter. But the Tigers slowly built their lead from there, getting a three from Marcus Cosby followed by a Devonte Grundy blocked shot that started the fast break, leading to an L.J. Cowherd layup at the other end, making it 20-10 with five minutes before halftime.
Brewer said the slow pace was nothing his team hasn’t seen before.
“We’re used to it — we played really mature tonight and I thought we grew up a little bit tonight,” Brewer said. “It didn’t bother us at all.”
The Tigers took a 25-16 lead into the half, but the Cardinals were still hanging around until Cosby and Grundy hit back-to-back threes late in the third to stretch the margin out to 39-27 and force Nelson County to pick up the pace.
“I thought we came out really focused and we were being patient and trying to make them play defense,” Brewer said. “We took some good shots.”
Nelson County never got closer than nine in the fourth quarter, and Bardstown led by as many as 19 late.
Hart said the strategy worked, but not well enough, as the Cardinals could never close the gap and make the Tigers feel the pressure.
“We were just outside of where we wanted to be,” Hart said. “We were close, but not quite close enough.”
Grundy, who paced the Tigers with 22 points, said his team needs to stick to the gameplan to take down Bethlehem a fourth time.
“Keep doing what we’ve been doing,” he said. “Play good defense and move the ball.”
Cosby had 14 for the Tigers, while Dee Yocum added 11. The Tigers were without starting center Seivon Schooling, who was suspended for disciplinary reasons. His status for tonight’s game is uncertain.
Hart was pleased with his team’s improvement late in the season as they dealt with injuries to starter Joseph Cesare and reserve Logan Calbert, crediting the Cardinal seniors with solid leadership despite the fact Nelson County had no experienced players returning this season.
“They didn’t give up — they kept plugging away,” Hart said. “I thought the seniors did a good job (and) put Nelson County basketball back on track. Hopefully, some of the younger guys were paying attention.”