Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

February 28, 2014

Trojans win third straight district title

Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — With just less than a minute to go in the championship game of the 15th District Boys Basketball Tournament at Glasgow High School, Barren County coach Warren Cunningham found Ben Leftwich and gave his big warrior a hug. The Trojans were just seconds away from winning their third straight district title and Cunningham and Leftwich wanted a chance to celebrate the 60-53 victory over Monroe County.

“I am really proud of my seniors, for them to be able to win three straight (district titles) and finish off their district season like this, I am just so proud of them,” Cunningham said. “That says a lot to win three straight in this district.

“And, we won all three in different ways. Two years ago we were big underdogs in the finals and last year we were the favorites. And this year, it could have been anybody’s game. I am really proud of our seniors as they’ve been a big part of all three titles.”

The win pushes the Trojans to 21-8 on the year, while the Falcons fall to 20-10.

“You have to give Barren County a lot of credit. They came right at us. They were physical. And we knew we were going to have to keep them off the boards (but we weren’t able to do that.),” said Monroe County coach Steve Kirkpatrick. “Barren County defended us so well. They came out and played really good defense on Dillon (Geralds) and made him earn his points. But they also came out and did a good defensive job on everyone. Barren County locked down on defense.”

The Trojans opened the game by attacking Monroe County inside. Barren County scored the first six points of the game, all inside, as Monroe County went without a point until the 2:06 mark of the first period. Leftwich scored on a jumper to open the second period to give the Trojans a 13-6 lead. And when he made two free throws at the 4:34 mark, the Trojans’ lead had gone to double digits at 20-10.

Barren County kept the pressure on Monroe County and back-to-back 3-pointers by Charley McCoy gave the Trojans a 14-point lead at 28-14 with just minutes remaining in the half.

“We wanted to go inside and attack the basket and that’s what we do. The big thing I thought was that probably was the best we’ve guarded all year,” Cunningham said. “We guarded really well and the guys really stuck to the gameplan.

“We made Dillon Geralds, he scored a lot, but we made him earn everything. We didn’t give him anything. Up until the last minute, I thought that was the best we’ve guarded all year.”

The Barren County lead stayed in double digits for most of the second half. A bucket by Bo Hubbard and a free throw by Leftwich gave the Trojans a 41-30 lead at the end of the third quarter. The Falcons made a charge in the final eight minutes. Trailing 56-44, Monroe County scored seven of the next nine points on a 3-pointer by William Goodman, two free throws by Lincoln Arnett and a jumper in the paint by Skyler Geralds.

After a free throw by Leftwich, Dillon Gearlds scored on a floater in the final minute to bring the Falcons to within six at 59-53.

Leftwich led the Trojans in the scoring with 14 points, and he pulled down 14 rebounds. Hubbard and McCoy chipped in with 12 points each. Wade Coomer scored nine points and Barrett Billingsley had eight. Nick Mabe tallied three points and Zach Mabe had two.

“Ben Leftwich contributes in so many different ways. I thought he guarded great tonight. He does a good job defensively, he rebounds, he scores; he just does so many things to help our team,” Cunningham explained. “And he’s played like this all year. Ben averages almost a double double; and I think he’s gotten double doubles in six of our last seven games. I think he’s probably surprised a lot of people this year, but he hasn’t surprised us.”

Dillon Geralds had a game high of 22 points for Monroe County. Arnett, Garrett Crowe and Skyler Geralds scored eight points each. Goodman scored three points, while Devin Gearlds and Gibril Summers scored two points each.

Barren County and Monroe County will advance to next week’s 4th Region Boys Basketball Tournament at Barren County High School. The draw for the tournament will be Saturday at Warren East High School.