The Barren County High School Trojans have been playing well this season, their record shows that. But head coach Warren Cunningham has been a little concerned about the effort he’s seen from his team early in games. The Trojans haven’t seemed to start games with the same intensity they’ve finished games with, and that’s a concern as the postseason approaches.
On Friday night, that wasn’t a problem for the Trojans. Barren County sprinted to a 19-6 advantage early in the game before rolling to a 71-45 victory over Hart County.
“You can always take something away from a game. As an example, we’ve been talking a lot about how we start games and I thought we played the first half tonight with a little bit extra intensity, a little bit extra energy,” Cunningham explained. “Not that we haven’t been playing hard the last couple of weeks, but we’ve felt like there has been something lacking in terms of the intensity, the energy we played with. But tonight I thought we had a lot of energy, a lot of intensity and passion and I thought it showed.”
The Trojans led 19-6 at the end of the first quarter and they outscored the Raiders 18-6 in the second period to take a 37-12 advantage into the locker room.
“To start the second half, I thought we were a little lethargic,” Cunningham explained. “And that’s a lesson for us. We have to play for 32 minutes because if we get into the district, or anytime in postseason, if you don’t play for 32 minutes it’s probably going to be over. That’s the way we try to approach it and I was proud of the way we played for the most part.”
Charley McCoy, who led the Trojans with 20 points on the night, lit up the scoreboard in the fourth quarter with three straight 3-pointers to post Barren County to a 59-30 advantage with 6:14 to go in the game.
After a basket by Hart County’s Stewart Nichols, the Trojans got two free throws from Barrett Billingsley, a jumper from Zach Mabe and two more free throws from Kaleb England to make it 65-32 with 3:31 to go in the contest.
“We knew we would see the zone, the matchup zone and they do a good job of it. Sometimes it looks like a 3-2 and sometimes it looks like a 2-3. We didn’t worry much about figuring out what it was during the game, we just wanted to attack it,” Cunningham explained. “We also wanted to move the ball better. Sometimes we hold the ball too long, but a couple of times there in the second half we reversed it, reversed it and got a good shot.”
“We thought we could rebound it pretty well on both ends of the court, and I thought we did a good job of that. And defensively, we probably could have trapped more, but we wanted to continue to work on our half-court defense and guard the drive better, work on guarding the post better.”
Behind McCoy’s 20 points, Billingsley tallied 10 points with Zach Mabe scoring nine and Ben Leftwich throwing in eight. England scored six points, while Sawyer Matthews had four, and Wade Coomer and Mason Perkins scored three points each. Bo Hubbard and Nick Mabe tallied two points apiece.
Justin Riffle led Hart County in scoring with 15 points.
The Trojans must now get ready for a key district game at Glasgow on Saturday. The tipoff for the boys game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
“It was good to get some of these guys some quality minutes tonight, not just time at the end of the game,” Cunningham said. “And when you play back-to-back with a district game tomorrow, it is good your starters don’t have to play 28 or 30 minutes. They were able to get some rest and; hopefully, be good to go tomorrow.”