Rebels’ season ends with loss to Pulaski

Published 8:30 am Tuesday, March 8, 2022

SOMERSET — For the second time in less than three weeks, Boyle County played one its best games of the season at Pulaski County. This time, however, it wasn’t quite good enough.

The Rebels were less than their best at the least opportune time Monday night, as Pulaski surged past them in the fourth quarter to thwart their bid for a second straight regional championship.

Boyle had won at Pulaski 18 days earlier, but it couldn’t repeat that feat and its season ended with a 59-51 loss in a boys 12th Region Tournament semifinal.

Boyle coach Dennie Webb said he couldn’t fault his players’ effort or, for the most part, their execution, but they had little margin for error against the team that has been rated at the top of the region virtually all season.

“I thought we played our tails off,” Boyle coach Dennie Webb said. “We played as good a game all night as we’ve played all year other than just that one little stretch.”

That one little stretch saw Boyle (23-8) fall victim to a combination of turnovers and missed shots that prevented it from stopping the momentum host Pulaski (30-2) was building.

The Maroons came from behind just as they had Feb. 17, when they rallied from a 20-point deficit to take their game against Boyle into overtime.

The Rebels prevailed in that game, winning 74-73, but it would not happen twice.

Boyle led throughout the second and third quarters and was up by eight points midway through the third period, but Pulaski outscored the Rebels 20-6 over a span of nine minutes to gain the upper hand.

“They started pounding it inside on us, getting some fouls and getting to the free-throw line,” Webb said.

The Maroons built up a head of steam with a string of layups, then tied the game at 43-all on a 3-pointer by Gavin Stevens with 5:40 remaining that followed a Boyle turnover. They took the lead for good about two minutes later at 47-46 on a layup by Cayden Lancaster, then got a steal and layup from Stevens to go up by three.

“You calm that down by making a bucket here and there or getting a stop. We got a couple stops there and then came down and didn’t get the buckets,” Webb said.

Boyle committed only five turnovers in the first three periods but had five turnovers and only three field goals in the fourth quarter, including just one in the final 4:34.

“They stepped up and got real handsy, tipping balls away,” Webb said. “And a couple of those (resulted from) our kids just trying to make plays.

We got some nice drives to the basket and we just didn’t get the pass to where it needed to be or they got a hand on it.”

Stevens, who scored 12 of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter, drove the baseline for a layup that gave Pulaski a 53-47 lead with 1:29 to play. After Kason Myers hit one of two free throws for Boyle, the Rebels missed 3-point shots on four straight possessions.

Jakei Tarter scored 13 points, William Carr scored 12 and Luke Imfeld added 11 for Boyle, which shot 38 percent from the field and hit only one of 10 3-point shots in the second half and seven of 25 overall.

Pulaski shot 47 percent from the field after going 13 for 22 in the second half.

“They’re a hard bunch to guard,” Webb said. “They’re big, they’re strong. I thought we did a nice job containing them overall, rebounding, limiting them to one shot.”

The Rebels outrebounded the Maroons 32-30 and allowed only five offensive rebounds. Carr led Boyle with six boards.

Boyle built a 28-20 lead in the second quarter when Imfeld hit two 3-pointers and Hagan Webb and Cruise Wilson hit one each. Pulaski was within 28-25 at halftime, but the Rebels regained an eight-point lead at 38-30 on consecutive layups by Wilson and Carr in the third quarter.

Webb said he was pleased with the fight the Rebels showed throughout the season and particularly in the weeks leading up to the postseason.

“I really thought we were playing good ball, especially coming into this tournament,” he said. “We had good practices, we’ve been playing good ball, and I thought we played good tonight.”

Boyle surpassed 20 wins for the second straight season after going 12-14 in 2019-20, Webb’s first year.

“These seniors have done a great job setting the standard. The next group up, it’s their job to maintain it,” Webb said. “These are the games we want to be in every year if we can … and they’ve shown how to do that. … People dont understand how hard it is to win a region, and it’s hard.”

Webb said he’ll remember these Rebels as a group that was fun to be around and easy to coach.

“Everything we tried to get them to do they’ve done. They did it willingly, they did it with effort, they believed in each other,” he said. “What I’ll remember the most is how hard they worked and the legacy they’ve left.”

Boys 12th Region Tournament
At Pulaski County
Semifinal

Boyle County     14 28 41 51
Pulaski County 10 25 35 59

BOYLE (23-8) — Jakei Tarter 13, Luke Imfeld 11, Hagan Webb 7, William Carr 12, Cruise Wilson 7, Kason Myers 1.
PULASKI (30-2) — Gavin Stevens 26, Cayden Lancaster 12, Zach Travis 14, Caleb Sloan 2, Barek Williams 5.