Still PERFECT!!! the 5th Region Boys Basketball Tournament
5th Region Basketball Tournament
There are so few things that are perfect in life. So when John Hardin saw their 32-0 record coming into the 5th Region Tournament with plenty of angry opponents that were waiting to knock the shine right off their crown as repeat Region Champions, they knew what to expect. That being said, saying you will win three straight and doing it are two different things and that seems to be what seperates this Bulldogs team as they bulldozed through three teams dead set on changing that and were sent home unhappy while it was Jared McCurry’s team which hoisted the Region Trophy again. Even though John Hardin was the lead story of the Tournament in Mumfordville, there were still plenty of other backstories that populated an already exciting four day event.
SRO Crowds are the vogue at the Region Event! Once again, a sellout event for pretty much all seven games at the new Hart County High School Tournament as Mumfordville got to held an open house for all the world to see and it was something alright. Once again, getting there early was a MUST if you wanted to find a parking space close to the school.
It’s Not How You Start, but How You Finish! The Washington County Commanders did everything right for two quarters (or one half of basketball), but the second half was a different story for Bernard Smalley’s team after taking a 35-29 halftime lead, LaRue County changed up on Washington County as coach Paul Childress went to a 1-3-1 zone and attacking the paint as the Commanders were unable to adjust to the Hawks length and were eventually beaten 76-53. On a Washington County team which was senior dominated, it was a difficult way for Smalley to end his long coaching career. Still, it was a great way to start the Tournament with a possible upset on Game One.
A Tale of Four Quarters! If you watch enough basketball you might think you’ve seen everything, then watch a little more and find out that you haven’t seen nothing yet. When the Central Hardin Bruins faced Taylor County in the second game of Monday’s opening round, nobody could have thought the flow would be so dictated by quarters (four eight minute ones to be precise). The Bruins behind their strong inside play and outside shooting won quarter one 23-12, the Cardinals matched them in the second with Nick Knifley’s scoring to win the second 21-4, the Bruins came back after adjusting at the half to win quarter three 13-9 and then the Cardinals matched them and then some in the fourth winning 22-13 and 64-53 overall. It was sign of things to come for Taylor County and a dismal way to end the Bruins season.
No Lead is Safe! You’d think that even a double digit lead in an elimination game might be safe, but if the Bardstown – Marion County first round game was any indication, coaches will not be criticized for keeping the foot on the gas pedal even when the lead climbs to twenty-points. There the Knights were after building a 17-point lead on Bardstown in the first half and 31-16 at the half as it appeared as if the Tigers hadn’t learned much from their opening game loss to these same Knights during the regular season, but then something began to happen as coach James Brewer’s team began hitting shots and forcing the Knights into turnovers and with the score at 58-56 with seconds remaining and Marion County trying to inbounds the ball, JaRel Montgomery stole the ball and just missed a game tying attempt securing the win for Marion County. It was the Tigers third straight first-round loss in the tournament in late game fashion, but for Knight coach Montrelle Irvin it was near heart attack as Marion County would live to fight another day.
Close But No Cigar Again! This was suppose to be the year that Paul Childress’ Hawks would finally make it to the KHSAA State Tournament and they were on a collision course with the undefeated John Hardin Bulldogs. This was one of the few teams that could match well with them with three Bigs(men) of their own and great guard play. Unfortunately, Taylor County had something to say about it. For the second straight year, the Hawks dream season ended in ruins and heartbreak in a game which may have defined both team’s. After a frantic first half which Taylor County took a 23-21, both teams began settling down into a dramatic mode in which both teams matched each other as it appeared neither wanted to go home. The Hawks will always be haunted by the WHAT IF’s as it appeared Mark Goode was fouled after a rebound as regulation time wound down, but the officials waved it off. Then a fight between Warner Bryan and TreVon Smith forcing an ejection by both in overtime as the Hawks were struggling to comeback in an eventual 63-56 loss. The loss of Smith would prove to be costly for Taylor County as they advanced to the Region final.
And Still Region Champions!!!! At the beginning of the season, Jared McCurry was optimistic of his team as they still returned plenty of talented players from last season’s team, but not even he could envision what would happen from Day One to this point. The Bulldogs won their second straight 5th Region Championship almost the same way they did last season. They weren’t just good, they were better than they teams they played winning by a combined point total of 71-points and leaving little doubt who was the better team in each game. There was no last second dramatics in this Championship game as the Bulldogs sprinted out to a 22-5 first quarter lead against the TreVon Smithless Taylor County Cardinals and took advantage of their first half confusion. An 11-0 run to start the game pretty much ended it quickly for the Bulldogs. Actually, the Cardinals played pretty close to the vest the rest of the way (outscoring them 46-40 from the second quarter on), but the damage had already been done. Inside threat Alex Matthews (16-points), sharp shooter Aaron Scott (13-points), point guard Jachei Walker (13-points) and athletic Trevon Harris (6-points) were all the Dawgs needed that cold Saturday Night in Mumfordville as they put the finishing touches on another Region Title and continued their dream of a 39-0 season.