Admirals victorious in must-win game

Published 11:40 pm Wednesday, February 7, 2018

LANCASTER — Danville held its own fate entering Wednesday’s contest at Garrard County.

Win, and the Admirals would avoid the 4-seed in the district tournament.

That’s what they did, shutting down the Golden Lions 62-34.

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The win puts Danville at 2-3 in district play and Garrard at 1-5, solidifying the first-round 45th District tournament matchups.

“I thought we were active and we played like we needed it,” Danville head coach Ed McKinney said. “Our zone was active, we covered shooters, I thought we challenged shots. If we could make some easy ones, it seems like we missed so many good ones right at the rim. We didn’t shoot free throws that great either. But that’s a good win, it’s one we had to have, that’s basically a postseason game there. We played like we wanted it.”

Danville’s 2-3 zone caused massive problems for Garrard, and it was a defense that the Golden Lions weren’t expecting.

“Credit to them, I’ve watched them a lot, scouted them a lot and they haven’t played 2-3 zone all year,” Garrard head coach Ryan Young said. “They came out in 2-3 zone, they were very active in it and solid. They’re big, they’re rangy. When they’re in that zone, it keeps them under the basket and it’s hard to get a lot of offensive rebounds. If you’re not attacking or making shots, it’s a big difference for them tonight.”
It was the second game in as many days for the Golden Lions, who beat Casey County 68-46 on Tuesday.

“They played last night so I’m sure they were a little tired, I know it’s tough to play back-to-back nights,” McKinney said. “This make-up game was just kind of unfortunate for everybody. I’m sure, with a little more preparation, this game might have been a little different.”

Young wouldn’t take that as an excuse and said that his team didn’t execute on either side of the ball.

“I’m not going to make an excuse,” Young said. “We had a great crowd. Obviously it’s not ideal last night, playing with a big senior night, we got started late, got home pretty late. It’s not ideal, but everybody has to deal with this when you have cancellations. That’s not an excuse. They beat us to a lot of balls tonight and pounded us on the glass, which we knew we couldn’t have. And we never got in any rhythm offensively.

“We didn’t do a good job keeping them out of the paint, they really pounded on us. We didn’t do anything we needed to do to win the basketball game.”

Neither team could get rolling at the start of the game — Danville led 4-0 after six minutes — but the game heated up for the Admirals after a 7-7 first quarter.

The visitors exploded for 26 points in the second quarter to take a 33-15 lead into halftime, led by three players with nine points: Zach Thornton, Tanner Ford and Jaleel Warren.

Danville was without Dante Hayden and only dressed 10 players, McKinney said.

“Jared (Southerland) was sick before the game, he gutted it out,” he said. “We’ve got other kids not feeling good. That was a big performance, our defense was active right off of the bat. We rebounded it hard. We did enough good things offensively.”

Garrard finished without a player in double figures. Brayden Sebastian led the team with eight points. The loss ends a three-game win streak for the Golden Lions.

“They’ve got a nice squad. They’ve been playing really well,” McKinney said of Garrard. “They’re a lot better than their record shows. We came over here last year and scored nine points in the first half. Everyone is going to have one of those games. I don’t think you saw the real Garrard County tonight. Then with our length, we challenge shots.”

A win in Wednesday’s game would have put Garrard in position to claim the 3-seed in the district. Now, Garrard will have the 4-seed in the district tournament and will have to go through undefeated Boyle County to make the district final. No 4-seed has ever made the district championship game with the current alignment of teams.  

“We heard that a lot, but I told the kids at shootaround today that regardless of a win or lose, the sun is going to come up and we’re going to have to play a quality team in our district,” Young said. “Going forward, we’re just going to try to build momentum going into the district tournament. We know who we play now, good program, good team, well coached. Hopefully we can get to where we need to get in order to win that game.”


DANVILLE 7 33 48 62

At GARRARD 7 15 21 34



DANVILLE (12-12, 2-3): Zach Thornton 15, Tanner Ford 13, Jaleel Warren 11, Jared Southerland 7, David Walker 4, Darrian Bell 4, DeShaud St. Martin 2, Nick Price 2, Tevin Kavanaugh 2, Trey Dawson 2.

GARRARD (8-17, 1-5): Brayden Sebastian 8, Trevor Jones 5, Brice Burkhart 4, Dalton Sebastian 3, Levi Beckett 3, Hudson Coronet 3, Jayce Saylor 3, Justin Preston 2, Charles Jones 2, Brock Milburn 1.