GLASGOW — Barren County (2-1) had to earn its first district win of the season on Friday night. The Trojans weathered a furious rally in the fourth quarter by Monroe County (1-4) and came out on top in the end.
Coach Warren Cunningham’s team was up 42-28 heading into the last quarter, but the Falcons actually managed to outscore Barren County 25-21 in the last period.
Despite Monroe’s comeback effort, the Trojans never truly faltered as the lead never got as small as eight points in the fourth quarter.
“It was a physical game, and it wasn’t necessarily a pretty or smooth game but sometimes district games get like that,” Cunningham said after the contest. “At times we are really good, but at times they made it a struggle for us. It’s almost at times when we are playing good, we don’t realize why we are good.”
It was sophomore Aden Nyekan who stole the show for Barren County as he scored 20 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in the victory. Nyekan Scored 12 of the Trojans first 17 points on the night as well.
“I thought that he was beast tonight at times,” Cunningham said. “He has the ability that when he wants to get the rebound, he has a really good chance of getting it. That was good to see because that’s how he played in the second half of last year, and we haven’t seen that through the first two games. We saw tonight the player he needs to be, and he can still get better.”
After Nyekan’s huge start, the Trojans were up 17-4 at the end of the first quarter as the Falcons had a huge issue scoring the basketball.
Thankfully for Monroe County, it was Barren County who had a massive issue on offense in the second quarter. They were actually outscored 8-7 in the second period and only went into halftime with a 24-12 lead.
Scoring picked up in a big way for both teams in the third quarter as Nyekan asserted his dominance even more in the period.
“I thought we had a bunch of effort tonight, and we came out of the game really strong and we just kept pushing,” Nyekan said. “I was just trying to be as aggressive as I can and help our team get a win.”
However, the Falcons also got a big scoring boost from senior Jholdi Brooks who played in his fist game back since suffering a devastating injury in Monroe County’s first football game of the season back in August.
Brooks managed to scored seven big points in the third quarter to keep the Falcons in the fight. He would end the night with nine points — all of which came after the first quarter.
“We still haven’t had our whole team,” Coach Ashley Geralds said of his Falcons. “(Jameson) Pruitt, our biggest kid on the team, was out with the flu tonight and this is Brooks’ first game back. We have yet to have our whole team play a game. But he (Brooks) played really well. He had to guard Nyekan a lot, and I know that’s a tough guard. I was very pleased for how he played in his first night out.”
Then the final quarter happened, and seniors Grayson Rich and Kale Hagan did whatever they could to power the Falcons back into the game after being down by as many as 16 points in the last period.
Rich finished with a team-high 20 points in the contest while Hagan was second on the team in scoring with 10 points — most of which came in the fourth quarter.
We didn’t quit,” Geralds said. “We battled. It (the lead) got to about 13 or 14 there and it seemed like it was about to get out of hand. But we got a couple of stops and made a couple of baskets. That’s the thing about this team. We haven’t quite yet. We gave ourself an opportunity and if we make a couple of defensive rebounds there at the end — you never know.”
Wade Thompson added seven points on the night for the Falcons. Will Bandy notched 11 points for the Trojans while Taye Poynter added seven points and four other players for Barren County scored at least three points.
“We are learning,” Cunningham said. “They (Monroe) got a good team. Rich is hard to guard, and Brooks being back gives them another dimension. They play really hard and Ashley does a good job. It was a battle.”
Next up for both teams is the Barren Hoops Classic at Barren County High School on Saturday. Barren County will play at 6 p.m. against Hopkinsville, and Monroe County will play at 3 p.m. against Edmonson County.