HALL OF FAME
BOYSâ?? BASKETBALL: Johnson dribbles to Brescia
May 19, 2014Bardstown High School
Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 12:27 pm
This year’s 5th Region champions, the Bardstown Tigers, had a bit of an edge to them, a toughness that carried them to the first state tournament win in school history.
A good deal of that toughness came from one of the smallest players on the court, Tavon Johnson.
“I’m really excited,” he said of the opportunity to continue his basketball career at Brescia University in Owensboro. “It’s just unbelievable. I have to thank God for everything. It’s unbelievable. Coach (Josh) Gibson at Brescia gave me the opportunity, and I took it.”
Brescia is where Gibson has already had success mining the Bardstown area for talent. Johnson will join former Bethlehem standout Jordan Cooper-Livers, who averaged more than five points a game as a part-time starting freshman.
He brings a big heart with that toughness, and applies it on defense and offense. Johnson has displayed an ability to be a streaky scorer, whether driving to the bucket, or from mid-range or long range, and was one of the point men on the vaunted Bardstown press, and a lockdown one-on-one defender.
“I think he can do a good job defending at our level,” Gibson said. “He gets people where they need to go, and offensively we need that.”
Johnson said he looks forward to taking the court with his former rival.
“It’s going to be great now teaming up with him, because Jordan’s a great player,” he said. “I’m going to learn from him, and hopefully take the court with him.”
His high school coach called him a “general” on the floor.
“He brought mental toughness,” Tigers coach James “Boo” Brewer said. “It’s great to be able to coach him the past three years, and each year he’s gotten better.”
It was those traits that Gibson fell in love with.
“He’s a leader,” he said. “I enjoyed watching how he communicates with his teammates.”
Johnson embraced the role.
“Having a leader on the team is very important, and I just wanted to be that guy for our team,” he said.
Johnson averaged just shy of 10 points a game this year as a product of a balanced Bardstown offense that saw four players average between nine and 13 points a contest. He had some of his biggest games in the big moments; such as an 18-point night in the Tigers’ state tournament win over Pleasure Ridge Park, and his heroics during the 5th Region tournament.
“He was a big part of our success at state,” Brewer said. “He’s very, very competitive. He’s going to be successful, because he’s got that fire in him.”
Johnson said he would need to hit the weight room and work on his shooting and ballhandling to get more playing time. Also, “just play defense like I’ve always done,” and get the opponent out of his comfort zone, which helps turn defense into offense.
Johnson is undecided on a major but is considering special education