Danville grinds out victory over Somerset

Published 11:28 pm Tuesday, January 15, 2019

SPRINGFIELD — Danville’s still learning to play without its point guard.

The Admirals wore warm-up shirts honoring Tevin Kavanaugh, their senior guard who went down with an ACL injury earlier this month.

Tuesday’s All-A 12th Region tournament game against Somerset showed that Danville still misses Kavanaugh’s calming presence.

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“We missed layups, we missed free throws,” head coach Ed McKinney said. “You’ve got to make those if you want to win big games. We won a big game without doing it until late. Our decision-making was good late. We’re still learning, we’re playing without a point guard. We’ll learn.”

Danville had one of its slowest first half scoring performances of the season but finished strong, beating Somerset 58-48 behind a balanced scoring effort.

Somerset grinded Danville’s offense to a halt in the first half with a 19-19 deadlock through 16 minutes. Danville starters Dante Hayden and Darrian Bell each had three fouls at the break. The Admirals were 1-for-7 from the foul line as a team, and they scored just five points in the second quarter.

McKinney’s halftime talk was simple: Relax.

“That’s what we told them at halftime, don’t worry about it,” the coach said. “I’ve got two kids that play golf, I always tell them, ‘just relax!’ You can’t tell a kid to relax, it is what it is. When we’re yelling relax, we’re screaming at them. But we calmed down in the second half.”

Danville doubled its score in the third quarter to take a 38-29 lead into the fourth quarter. Trey Dawson hit back-to-back threes at the end of the quarter — including one at the buzzer — to give the Admirals a boost.

Dawson is one of Danville’s committee of point guards — Dante Hayden and Zach Thornton are also primary ballhandlers on the team — but it was Kavanaugh who consistently got the Admirals into offensive sets. That was needed against teams like Somerset who packed in a half-court defense.

“Dante will learn, but he wants to play off the ball at the two,” McKinney said. “He can play the point, he just hasn’t in these kinds of atmospheres and playing good teams in the 12th Region. Zach handled the ball well. We’re doing it by committee. I thought Trey did great, Caden (Hill) was really good with the ball. I probably shouldn’t have taken him out as much, he made good passes, was good defensively, took it to the basket.”

DeShaud St. Martin led Danville with 12 points. Bell finished with 11 points, including seven in a 20-point fourth quarter, and Hayden added 10. Dawson finished with nine points, all from long range.

The Admirals will face the winner of Burgin and Washington County in the All-A 12th Region championship on Friday.


Box score


At Washington County


SOMERSET 9 10 10 18 48
DANVILLE 14 5 19 20 58



SOMERSET (11-8): Chase Walker 16, Kade Grundy 14, Jase Bruner 7, Dylan Burton 6, Kaiya Sheron 4.

DANVILLE (17-1): DeShaud St. Martin 12, Darrian Bell 11, Dante Hayden 10, Trey Dawson 9, Ethan Wood 6, Zach Thornton 6, Caden Hill 4.