Warren Cunningham, the head boys’ basketball coach at Barren County High School, would like to have a couple more days to get ready for next week’s District 15 Boys Basketball Tournament. The Trojans are the No. 2 seed in the tournament and will tipoff Wednesday night with Allen County-Scottsville. The two teams split games during the regular season, earning victories on each other’s home court. Cunningham knows it’s going to be a battle.
“In some instances, I think we’re about where we need to be heading into the tournament. But at the same time, there are some things where we haven’t made the progress we needed to,” Cunningham explained. “We’re still making those same mistakes and we’re still having too many defensive breakdowns, and not being in the right position. And we work on it every day in practice. It seems like in practice we see some progress, but in games we see the same mistakes. And that’s a concern.”
The boys’ tournament opens on Tuesday at Glasgow High School with the Scotties, the No. 4 seed in the tourney, hosting No. 1 seed Monroe County. The Trojans and ACS will play Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Barren County will be going into the tournament on a high note as the Trojans have won seven of the last nine games. Cunningham said a key for his team will be experience in big games. The Trojans played in last year’s regional tournament.
“It is good to go into a tournament knowing we have guys that have been there, have had to make plays in those situations,” Cunningham said. “I guess the biggest thing we work on is to make sure they don’t feel complacent because they’ve been there before, that it is going to happen. You have to make it happen if you want to win. It’s not going to happen just because you’ve been there before. We’ve got to play when we get there. Having that experience is a good thing, but it is also a concern because you can’t be complacent.”
And BCHS (19-8) can not afford to be complacent on Wednesday against the Patriots (11-16). Allen County-Scottsville won three of its final four games of the season.
“Allen County is so difficult to guard because they’re one of the few teams, in my opinion, that have a real presences in the post (Dyllan Harper), but they can also shoot the ball well from the perimeter (Jared Walden). If you play a team that has just guards or just bigs, that’s a little bit easier to guard,” Cunningham relayed. “Allen County is so hard to guard because they have an inside and outside game. And then they have a good bench. It is a tough matchup for us.”
Cunningham said when two good teams matchup in a tournament setting, you can throw records, past games, everything that happened before the game out the window. In his experience, he said it comes down to making plays.
“Tournaments usually come down to how well you guard and how well you rebound because you might have a game or even multiple games where you don’t shoot it especially well and you have to overcome that,” Cunningham explained. “But in close games your guys have to be able to make plays. We’ve been fortunate in that area, over the last couple of years. We’ve had guys that have made plays. We’ve still got to have some of that this year.”