Garrard wins wild one over Danville
Garrard County got its first district win Monday night 81-77 over Danville in a game that had everything.
It had a super star playing like one.
Brayden Sebastian scored 47 points and had 12 rebounds in his best game since returning from an ankle injury.
“Sebastian — I told the guys in there — that’s just bad coaching,” Danville coach Ed McKinney said. “He’s had 40 on us three of the last four games. Eventually you’ve got to look at the coaching and say ‘Dang, is the coach going to find a way to get a stop.’ He just does whatever he wants and they do a good job of finding him.”
“We talked the other night. He had 30 and 10 against Boyle but I thought when we needed him some — when they made their run in the third quarter — he kind of faded into the background,” Garrard coach Ryan Young said about the star. “I think that’s coming back and trying to gel with the team but I had a conversation with him. You’ve got to read the temperature of the team when you’re the best player. If we need you to break it off and get a bucket, by all means. You’re the most talented player who’s ever come through this school’s history. I’m not going hold you back. So go after it.”
And he did. Especially in the fourth quarter when he scored the Golden Lions’ first 13 points to keep a fighting Admirals at bay.
“In high school basketball you can’t just — I’ll take some blame on this — you’ve got to double him and get it out of his hands. But you’ve got to work on it with the rotations and not leave a guy open under the basket,” McKinney said. I think we’ve got good defenders but we absolutely don’t do anything with him. There was just nothing we could do and if you lay off him too much, he’s not a bad passer. If you double him like crazy you leave a guy wide open and I have a hard time stomaching that.
“We have to do a better job of not letting him get 47,” he continued. “That’s just not good coaching and I’m not trying to be a martyr. But let’s be objective here. If any other coach let one kid get 40 three straight times, I’d be like — if I’m a fan ‘We just going to give him 40 every game?’ I’ve got to do a better job of getting the ball out of his hands or something.”
It had a potential future star announcing his arrival on the big stage in the form of eighth grader Montavin Quisenberry.
“Let’s talk about our eighth grade point guard some. My goodness guys,” Young said. “Beginning of the season, nobody thought he’d play 36 minutes in a night and handle tough pressure and make some fantastic plays.”
It had late game drama in the form of Garrard’s Hudson Cornett being ejected after picking up two technical fouls, but Danville’s Aden Slone unable to capitalize on any of the four free throws.
“You want to stick with him. You want to have that confidence in him,” McKinney said about if there was any thought to switching the shooter after Slone missed the first two. “I did think about changing but you want your guys to have confidence. I have confidence in him that he can step up there and make them. You probably won’t see that again the rest of his career.”
For Slone’s part, he stepped up and hit some big threes late to get the game into overtime.
Oh yeah. There was overtime.
Danville came out red hot and jumped out to a 13 point lead after the first period, but Garrard outscored the Admirals in every quarter after before scoring 13 points in the extra period to win.
“The message was simply that we came out tentative,” Young said. “The first couple of possessions we missed a couple of layups, we weren’t playing with any force defensively.”
The first half also saw Danville freshman Ethan Cooper shoot out of his mind — hitting six 3’s in the first half to account for a team high 18 points.
“That Cooper kid comes out and just lights it up,” Young said about that punch in the mouth. “The plan going in was to play a little zone but when they make six or seven 3’s in the first quarter, then you’ve got to man up and take the challenge.”
“He’s capable of doing that and our guys found him. They did a good job of that,” McKinney said about Cooper.
But Garrard fought and clawed and got the win. Part of that mentality was forged when the Golden Lions were forced to play without Sebastian for most of the season while he was nursing a high ankle sprain.
“One thing this season has taught us — we’ve been down a lot. In the recent games we’ve learned to fight back a little bit and show some collective grit,” Young said. “I was really proud of a lot of guys and how they stepped up.
“You look at our record now (4-14) — people will call you crazy — but I built this schedule to be a regional contender,” he added. “Obviously I wouldn’t have built the schedule the way I did if I’d known what was going to happen (Sebastian’s injury). A lot of people have jumped off the ship — maybe even internally. But I’m never going to jump off the ship. I’m just going to keep battle and I’m glad the team took that mantra tonight.”
Garrard also benefited from Danville going cold from the line. On the game, the Ads shot 18-38 from the foul line — 14 of those misses came in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“We might work on free throws — we’ve struggled a bit,” McKinney said jokingly. “That’s two games in a row we struggled from the line. We’re a good free throw shooting team. I think we’ll be fine.”
But at the end of the day — Garrard County earned a big time win over one of the favorites in the region.
“They just beat us,” McKinney said. “I don’t want to take anything away from them. They deserved the win.”
“That was just a fantastic high school basketball game with a lot of ebbs and flows,” Young said. “I’m really proud of our team for not giving up and I think we really deserve that after all of the stuff we’ve been through.”