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Tigers teeter, come back from 21 down

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NC, Bethlehem girls get wins; Cardinal boys fall in OT

By Nathaniel Bryan

Bardstown withstood a 31-6 first-half run, rallying from 21 points behind in the second half to edge visiting Elizabethtown, 67-65.

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And it took a pair of familiar faces to make the Panthers’ debacle — or the host Bardstown Tigers’ comeback, depending on the view — to make it possible.

Junior forward Jordan Brewer overcame a bum left wrist to score a team-high 20 points and junior point guard Anthony Myrks added 15 points in the final 15 minutes as the Tigers rallied for a 67-65 win. Brewer and brother Myrks spent the previous two seasons playing for region rival LaRue County.

“I started to get a little frustrated, but we’ve been down like that before,” said Brewer, who was sidelined at the end of the first quarter and part of the second after his non-shooting wrist was scratched in several places in a battle for a loose ball. “This team has a lot of heart and I knew we’d at least make a run.”

The Tigers (16-4) did far more than make a run at an impressive comeback, leaving the Panthers (12-9) dumbfounded, disappointed and downtrodden. Elizabethtown raced out to a 20-point advantage in the first 13 minutes and extended its lead, albeit barely, to 40-19 with less then seven minutes remaining in the third quarter.

“I didn’t realize we were down that much,” said Myrks, who finished with 17 points, six rebounds and two assists. “I just wanted to play hard, get a win and try to redeem ourselves for the first half.”

Myrks was one of three Tigers who got redemption in the second half. Brewer scored 15 points in the final 13 minutes and senior forward Cody Edelen, who picked up two quick fouls and spent most of the first half on the bench, scored 10 of his 11 points after halftime.

Behind the play of those three, as well as senior forward Chance Grundy (six points, game-high 10 rebounds) and the bench tandem of senior wing Treston Grundy and Cody Ramos, which combined for nine points and eight rebounds, the Tigers changed both teams’ fortunes in the second half.

“You can put down everything we did right the first half and just reverse it,” said longtime Elizabethtown coach James Haire. “There was a lack of discipline, a lack of leadership and a lack of anything with a structure. When they were playing helter-skelter, I don’t understand why we felt like we had to play like that, too.”

After a rough first half, Bardstown was far more efficient than helter-skelter in the final 16 minutes. The Tigers went to the rim and finished almost at will late, making 17-of-24 shots inside the arc after halftime. The Tigers made less than 24 percent of their field-goal attempts in the first half, missing 11 consecutive shots before finally ending Elizabethtown’s 19-0 run with a putback.

“Give them credit because they came out and played with some fire after halftime,” said Elizabethtown senior forward Chris McDonald.

Despite its second-half woes, Elizabethtown was still in control late.

The Panthers took a 65-54 lead with 3:55 remaining on the final of senior forward Mitchell Henry’s game-high 22 points but was held scoreless the rest of the way as Bardstown ended the game on a 13-0 run fueled by eight points by Brewer.

“We had too many turnovers and we just didn’t slow down. We just made too many mistakes that we shouldn’t make,” said McDonald, who finished with eight points and a team-best eight rebounds.

Fouled on a drive through the lane, Brewer pulled the Tigers even at 65 and hit the ensuing free throw with 1:04 left to give the Tigers a 66-65 lead. Elizabethtown missed the front end of a bonus situation on the foul line with 53.7 seconds remaining and Chance Grundy rebounded.

McDonald missed a shot with 9 seconds left that would have tied the game and the teams battled for the rebound. Bardstown came up with it in a jumpball with 4.5 seconds left. Myrks barely got a hand on the ensuing inbounds, which gave the Panthers the ball on the far baseline with 3.9 seconds left. They were able to get across midcourt but couldn’t get a shot off.

Myrks said it would take that type of second-half effort for three straight games for the Panthers, Tigers or another team to win the region tournament next month at Green County.

“Whoever comes out and plays defense, plays the hardest and makes the smart plays will be the one who wins the whole thing,” Myrks said.

Haire said he didn’t know if the game represented yet another kooky outcome in what has been an unpredictable region.

He was sure of one thing, though.

“All this game represents,” he said, “is a game we lost that I thought we could have won.”

 

In other results Friday:

 

Boys

Collins 64, Nelson Co. 61 OT

Senior Quentin Brooks’ game-high 21 points weren’t enough as the visiting Titans outscored the Cardinals 23-13 in the fourth quarter to force overtime and steal the win.

Bryce Greer’s deep three to force a second overtime missed the mark, and the Cardinals fell to 9-16 overall.

Nelson County visits Bardstown Monday at 7:30 in a game to decide the top seed in next week’s 19th District tournament, hosted by the Cardinals. Bardstown won the previous meeting in January, 54-47. The Cardinals are 4-1 in district play and the Tigers are 5-0, but the winner of the second district game gets the tiebreaker nod.

 

Campbellsville 71, Bethelehem 50

Jeremiah Percell’s 24 points proved too much for the visiting Eagles to handle, as Bethlehem fell to 9-10 overall.

Jordan Cooper had 13 and Thomas Mudd 10 for Bethlehem, who visits Spencer County Tuesday.

 

Girls

Bethlehem 72, Campbellsville 59

The Banshees improved to 3-14 overall on the season by finishing the game on a 28-16 run after the Eagles had trimmed a double-digit halftime deficit to 44-43 early in the fourth quarter.

Senior Jessica Greenwell’s 21 points led the Banshees, who visit Holy Cross Friday. The Eagles’ Tiffany Slone scored 30 before fouling out.

 

Nelson Co. 67, Green Co. 34

The Cardinals improved to 13-11 with the easy win Friday. They were in action Saturday after press time against Bullitt East, and visit Taylor County Tuesday.

 

Central Hardin 68, Bardstown 44

The Tigers dropped their fifth straight and fell to 10-12 overall with the road loss to the Bruins.

Abbie Parrish and Cierra Allen combined for 24 of the Tigers’ 44 points.

 

Nathaniel Bryan is a sports reporter for The News-Enterprise in Elizabethtown. Kentucky Standard sports editor Peter W. Zubaty contributed to this report.