HALL OF FAME
BOYS' BASKETBALL: Panthers stun Tigers with late rally
February 17, 2014Bardstown High School
E’town scores 5 unanswered in final 22.9 seconds
Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 12:24 pm
An old problem crept up at the wrong time Friday for the Bardstown Tigers
Bardstown struggled from the foul line in the fourth quarter, which opened the door for the Elizabethtown Panthers to make an improbable comeback.
After leading by eight early in the fourth quarter, Bardstown was 13-of-22 from the foul line and the Panthers rallied to pull out a 77-76 victory in a matchup of 5th Region title contenders.
Bardstown coach James Brewer said troubles at the charity stripe plagued his team during a trio of losses during the Lexington Catholic tournament in December.
“We’re usually a good free throw shooting team,” Brewer said. “If you go back to our losses to Manual, Male and Bryan Station, we lost them at the free throw line. But you have to give (Elizabethtown) credit. They are a great team with a great coach.”
Bardstown built a 61-53 lead with 6:12 remaining after scoring five straight points, and after the Panthers cut the le
ad to two, the Tigers responded with another run to push the lead to 72-65. Senior guard Jalen Stone drained a three-pointer and senior center Seivon Schooling, who had 15
points and 11 rebounds, made two free throws with 1:46 remaining.
But that’s when things began to unravel for the Tigers, who had won three straight and seven of their last eight.
Elizabethtown senior guard Ja’Von Cotton hit two free throws, and after Tiger junior guard L.J. Cowherd made 1-of-2 from the line, senior center Dominique Harding made a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 73-69 with 49.8 seconds left.
After Bardstown junior guard Keanu Young made 1-of-2 free throws, senior guard Nic McDonald grabbed an offensive rebound, dribbled out to the left wing and then banked in a three-pointer with 25 seconds left.
Bardstown pushed the lead to 76-72 when senior guard Tavon Johnson made two free throws, but McDonald responded with a 25-foot pull-up three-pointer with 13 seconds remaining.
“They have a player with a refuse-to-lose attitude,” Brewer said of McDonald. “He made some big shots — the bank shot and then the deep three.”
Elizabethtown fouled Young immediately on the inbound pass with 11.3 seconds left, but he misfired on both attempts.
Junior forward Zach Patterson rebounded Young’s miss and passed to McDonald, who rushed across half court and then threw to a wide-open Cotton. Without hesitation, Cotton shot a three that missed the mark, but junior forward Guy Williams was there for a tip-in to give the Panthers a 77-76 lead with three seconds to go.
Bardstown called a timeout, but all the Tigers could manage was a half-court heave by Cowherd at the buzzer.
The Panthers only had eight offensive rebounds, but two in the final minute proved costly.
“We didn’t give up many, but they came in the last minute,” Brewer said. “We missed our assignments and didn’t block out. You could see that last one developing and (Williams) was able to sneak right in there.”
The Tigers made 23-of-37 free throws, including missing six in the final three minutes. Meanwhile, Elizabethtown went 16-for-19 from the line.
Elizabethtown, which snapped a two-game slide, shot 56 percent from the field, while Bardstown was even better making 56.1 percent of its 41 attempts.
McDonald led the Panthers with 22 points, five rebounds and three assists. Cotton added 20 points, while Harding had 18 points and nine rebounds.
Cowherd scored 18 points and dished out three assists, while Young had 15 points and three assists. Johnson and Stone each scored 13 points.
“We’ve got to learn how to finish,” Brewer said. “My players are hurting right now, and they should be. It hurts to lose like that. We can’t play that way and expect to win against a really good team.”