When it comes to tournament time, coaches are looking for any edge they can get. After all, they understand that it is the time of the season where you must win, or you go home.
Brett Meredith, the head boys’ basketball coach at Metcalfe County High School, is looking for that edge as he prepares his team for their opening game in next week’s Boys’ District 16 Basketball Tournament at Russell County High School.
The Hornets, the fourth seed in the tournament, will play Russell County in the first round on Monday at 7:45 p.m. And though the game looks tough for Metcalfe County, Meredith sees a bright spot.
“Russell County and Clinton County are the two favorites in the tournament,” said Meredith. “We got a pretty good bracket, I think, because of the tempo and the pace of the game. The negative about playing Russell County is you’re playing them on their home floor.”
“It is hard for us to play with Clinton County because they like to rush it up and down the floor,” Meredith said. “Sometimes they have five shooters on the court at one time. It is tough for us to defend.
“With Russell County, we know who the main scoring threat is and that we have to box out and take them off the boards. It will be a halfcourt game on Monday, I am sure.”
Meredith said his team has been playing well lately, despite what the record shows. And though the Hornets have battled teams like Glasgow and Barren County over the last couple of weeks, he has seen a lot of progress.
“We want to be able to take this game into the fourth quarter,” Meredith explained. “And in the district tournament, we all know that anything can happen in the fourth quarter.
“I thought about a week ago we were playing the best basketball of the year, but it fell against some of the best teams in the region. We didn’t get the result we wanted, but we didn’t play bad.
“We’re doing some good things and the guys are excited. They’re fired up and ready to play. I think we’re getting into the tournament mode.”
Dylan Harris and Asher Sullivan have been the main cogs in the Metcalfe County engine this year. The dynamic duo has been the spark plug that gets the Hornets’ engine started. On Monday, Harris and Sullivan will need to kick the engine into high gear. And Meredith said they aren’t the only ones.
“Ben Thompson will be big for us. We’re going to have to get their bigs in foul trouble, so Ben’s play will be extremely important,” Meredith said. “Logan Matney has played pretty well lately and I thought he did a great job against Glasgow the other night.
“And Luke Wilson’s contributions will also be big for us. We’ve got six or seven guys that need to contribute something. Hopefully, we will ready for anything they throw at us.”
Meredith, who is in his first season with the Hornets, said a win on Monday, which would guarantee Metcalfe County a spot in the regional tournament, would go a long way toward helping him take the program to the heights it has reached in the past.
“If Dylan and Asher combine around the 40-point mark and Ben gets 10 and five rebounds, we’ve got a good chance to win,” Meredith said. “We need to be up around 55-60 points to have a chance to keep it close.
“A win Monday would be big for us. It would eliminate everything that’s happened during the season. It would help us set our program up for future success. It would give us a big step forward in our rebuilding process.”