GREAT SCOTT! 2018 5th Region Basketball Tournament
2018 5th Region Basketball Tournament
There are two things that the 2018 5th Region Basketball Championship game will be remembered for and both of them concern a shot. The first will be the layup that John Hardin junior Aaron Scott made that put his team ahead to stay with 11 seconds remaining at 46-45 over LaRue County at the Marion County Robey Dome, last Tuesday. The second was the shot that put LaRue County up 45-44 by Anthony Adkins and allowed Scott to become a hero in the first place. Unfortunately for the Hawks, their next possession ended on a missed shot and rebound by the Bulldogs and a made free throw by Jachai Walker made the final score 48-46 and sent John Hardin to their third KHSAA State Tournament in seven seasons.
It was a game which had a little bit of everything, but will most likely will be remembered for the back and forth affair especially in the fourth quarter when it appeared the Bulldogs would eventually cruise to victory after building a seven point lead late in the fourth after Alex Matthews picked off in inbounds pass by LaRue County and went the distance to score to make it 43-36 with about four minutes left. That’s when things got interesting. Hawk sophomore center Mark Goode scored and was fouled converting the three-point play and then after a turnover, senior guard Shane King, who had shot blanks all night long hit his only three-pointer of the night to pull LaRue County closer at 43-42. Senior forward Mickey Pearson extended the John Hardin lead to 45-42 with a layup on the other end until the heroics of Adkins was offset by a timely pass by Pearson, who was double teamed on the other end as everyone thought everyone’s Region Player of the Year would take the game winning shot to Scott, who drove towards the basket. The win offset a great season for the Hawks, who had come close, but came up short in the epic showdown. The Bulldogs season will lead to a Wednesday Night game at Rupp Arena for another chance to extend their season for one more week.
SRO Crowds – One thing is for sure, than no matter where the Boys Region Basketball tournament is held, you’d better get there early if you don’t want to stand. For the four day tournament, the Robey Dome saw strong numbers during the two days for first round action and on Final Four Monday cleared the gym after the first game to make room for the second game. The Final on Tuesday looked a lot like the Championship crowd at Central Hardin last season and at Nelson County the following season as the Robey Dome vibrated from the crowd energy like an old lawn-mover. It didn’t hurt that both fan bases (John Hardin and LaRue County) travel well.
STAR POWER – The Tournament didn’t lack for star power and with guys like Jobby Howard (Caverna), Zion Harmon (Adair County), Mickey Pearson (John Hardin), Shane King (LaRue County) and Jacob Hobbs (Central Hardin). Of the five mentioned, only Hobbs (junior) and Zion (freshman) are underclassman and each season the Tournament writes new stories for new stars which are up and coming.
BEAUTIFUL MINDS! – The 5th Region Tournament was also a place for the great coaches to showcase their skills and add on to legacies. LaRue County head coach Paul Childress had won a Region title as the coach at Caverna in 2004. Hawk assistant coach Gary Goode won a Region Title in 2008 as the ehad guy at Bardstown and current head coach James Brewer won Region titles in 2011 and 2014. Now, John Hardin’s Jared McCurry adds his name to the list with a 2018 title.
The SHOT Heard round the Region! You might say that every season has a Cinderella story and this year it was probably Campbellsville. At one time a 5th Region power and did reach the Final in 2010 before losing a 12-point lead to North Hardin. This season, head coach Tim Davis took a squad that struggled early, caught fire late and came up with a last second shot by senior forward Chanson Atkinson to beat Bardstown in the first round, 57-55. Atkinson’s bit of magic allowed the Eagles to extend their season at least one more game and add his name to a long list of magical moments in the Tournament.
The PASS! One might wonder what would have happened if senior Forward Mickey Pearson chose to shot the ball with 11-seconds left and John Hardin trailing by a point instead of passing the ball to teammate Aaron Scott for the layup which turned out to be the eventual winning points in the 5th Region Tournament. Pearson, who usually wears No.3, finished the game with No. 0 instead because he was forced to change in the second half and drew a double team after he got the ball. Everyone anticipated Pearson to make the game winning shot, but instead passes it off to Scott driving towards the basket for the layup. Games like this are usually remembered for big shots, but this one might be remembered for a pass instead.
The FUTURE! With the 2017-2018 Basketball season almost over, the next question will be What’s Next? Obviously John Hardin should be hit hard by graduation with both Malik Wright and Mickey Pearson moving on, but LaRue County should lose just one starter (Shane King) and return pretty much everyone else. Adair County loses Corey Melton, but returns Zion Harmon one of the most dynamic guards in the state. Central Hardin returns four of five starters including Hobbs, Gavin George and Chase Elmore. Should be interesting to watch during summer basketball to kill time.