Danville boys fall 51-48 in All-A final; Danville girls advance to state due to COVID; Boyle girls, boys each open with wins

By MIKE MARSEE
Contributing Writer

They didn’t get what they wanted most from the 12th Region All “A” Classic, but the Danville boys can still get something out of the experience.

The Admirals were denied a trip to the statewide small-school tournament when they fell to Somerset 51-48 in the regional final Friday night.

However, coach Ed McKinney was pleased with the way Danville competed against one of the top teams in the 12th Region.

“I thought we did a lot of good things, scrapped hard, played hard with a lot of guys that haven’t been in that situation,” he said.

McKinney said games such as this one would help the Admirals improve, even if it didn’t help them get to the All “A.”

“We’ve got a chance to get a lot better,” he said. “It’s growing pains. You’re going to lose some of (these games), but you’ve got to use them to get better.”

Host Danville (3-2) held its own in a back-and-forth game until Somerset (5-0) took the lead for good at 43-42 with 6:27 remaining. There were nine ties and 12 lead changes, and neither team led by more than four points.

The Briar Jumpers’ largest lead was three, and they led by that number when Danville got the ball with 10.1 seconds to play. Somerset had three fouls to give and used two of them to eat up some of the clock, and the Admirals failed to get off a shot after inbounding the ball for the final time with 4.1 seconds left.

This was the closest of Danville’s five games to date, and McKinney said it underscored a point he has been trying to make to his players.

“We talk about it all the time: It’s going to come down to one or two possessions,” he said. “Every possession matters, in the first minute or the last minute. When you see a game like this, ‘Oh, gosh, Coach is right.’

“And you never know when that possession is. You just learn that every possession’s important.

You’ve got to get the best shot you can every time down, and you’ve got to get stops.”

Danville shot 39 percent from the field and was within five rebounds (33-28) of Somerset despite being outsized.

Dante Hayden led the Admirals with 17 points, and sophomore Jarius Bryant had a career-high 13.

Kade Grundy had 21 points for Somerset, which won the All “A” regional for the second straight year.

Danville is less experienced than it was a year ago, when it lost in double-overtime to Somerset in the All “A” regional final and lost by 23 points in a February rematch but defeated the Briar Jumpers by two points in the 12th Region Tournament semifinals. Four of the players who were on the floor in the closing minutes Friday weren’t in the starting lineup a year ago, while Somerset has several veterans.

In other seasons, a team in Danville’s position would have had a chance to close the experience gap before the All “A” regional, which normally falls near midseason but fell in the second week of this unique season altered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I don’t want that to sound like an excuse … (but) if you’ve got an experienced team back in this COVID year, you’ve got some advantages,” McKinney said. “We’d have 15 games in by now with two Christmas tournaments, and we would really have a lot of stuff in.”

Uncontested champions

The Danville girls will return to the statewide All “A” Classic for the eighth consecutive year after they were declared champions of a regional tournament that never tipped off.

The Lady Admirals were awarded the title Friday upon the cancellation of the championship game between Danville and Somerset due to COVID-19 concerns. Somerset was en route to Danville for the game when the Lady Jumpers learned they would not be able to play.

All previous games in the tournament had been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.
Danville (2-1) will represent the 12th Region in the All “A” for a record 13th time. The statewide tournament will be played Feb. 16-21 at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond; the Lady Admirals will play the 4th Region champion – Adair County or Metcalfe County – in the first round.

Danville reached the semifinals last year, beating Louisville Collegiate and Glasgow before losing to eventual champion Bethlehem.

Opening night rally

The Boyle County girls were the last local team to open the season, and they finished their first game with a flourish Friday as they came from behind in the fourth quarter to defeat McCreary Central 49-40.

The host Lady Rebels trailed 34-27 after three quarters, then opened the fourth with eight straight points to take a 35-34 lead. They went on to outscore McCreary 22-6 in the final period, when Emily Glasscock and Peyton Bugg combined for 14 points.

Emily Glasscock, Boyle’s only senior, scored nine of her game-high 20 points, and Bugg scored five of her 10 in the fourth quarter. Andy Glasscock and Ella Coffey contributed 3-point baskets to the Lady Rebels’ rally.

Bombs away

Boyle County’s boys got off to a hot shooting start in 45th District play, shooting 54 percent from the field in the first half of an 81-59 victory over Garrard County on Friday.

The host Rebels went 9 for 11 from 3-point range and 15 for 28 overall from the field in the first half as they opened a 47-24 halftime lead. They made 12 of 19 3-point attempts overall and led by as many as 35 points in the fourth quarter.

Luke Imfeld (4 for 6 from 3-point range) led Boyle with 24 points. Hagan Webb (3 for 4) and Luke Sheperson (1 for 1) added 13 points each and Jagger Gillis (2 for 2) had 10.