DCA boys find significance in first district win

Published 9:54 am Wednesday, December 13, 2023

By Mike Marsee

Contributing Writer

STANFORD – All district games count the same, but all district games are not created equal.

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The Danville Christian boys’ first 45th District victory of the season had added significance for a couple of reasons.

For starters, it was a good start for the Warriors, who were tabbed by coaches as the preseason favorite in the 12th Region and who will play three district games in a 12-day span.

Beyond that, this win mattered because of where they got it. The Warriors had never beaten Lincoln County prior to their 52-40 win Friday night, and DCA coach Don Story knew as well as anyone how consequential their victory was.

“It’s always important to win them all, but getting that first one (is big), especially against Lincoln, which is an outstanding program,” Story said.

DCA was 0-7 against Lincoln since their first meeting in the 2019-20 season, but the Warriors rallied to win this game in the second half, when they outscored the Patriots 30-13 to complete a sweep of a boys-girls doubleheader.

Lincoln has won the last five 45th District titles and has reached the regional finals in each of the past three seasons – it won a regional title in 2022 – and it remains a difficult team to beat even though this year’s Patriots have a young team this season.

Story knows all about that. He was a longtime assistant coach at Lincoln before taking over the DCA program in 2018.

“It’s just tough, and we knew it was going to be,” he said. “No champion’s going to give you anything, you’ve got to try your best to take it, and that first time is always the hardest time. And it’s going to be hard every time against Lincoln.”

Titus Boyd scored 23 points to lead DCA (2-2), which outscored Lincoln 10-2 in the third quarter to take control of a game it trailed 27-22 at halftime.

Boyd and Lual Ayiei produced nine straight points to give the Warriors a 32-29 lead in the third quarter, and they pulled away in the fourth quarter with a 16-2 run that included eight points from Boyd and four from Brandon Fugate.

“We’re just thankful that we came back and played a good second half and were able to get the victory,” Story said.

The second half wasn’t so good for Lincoln (0-4), which has little experience beyond two returning starters learning new roles.

“The first half we took good shots. … The second half we took quick shots, we took fast shots and our transition defense was not real good,” Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said. “When you take a bad shot you get yourself in trouble, and I thought we took several bad shots, quick shots in the second half. And it led to runouts and we had to chase them, and we’re not a good chase team.”

Emmanuel Dut had 14 points and nine rebounds for DCA, which has district games Friday against Garrard County and Dec. 19 against Boyle County and is playing a more difficult schedule outside the district than in past seasons.

“We’ve got a tough schedule, and we want to have a tough schedule,” Story said. “What I’ve learned is you’ve got to show up every night. Nobody’s going to give you anything, and when you play good teams they’re going to get after you.”

Story said he is looking for improvement on offense in December.

“I want us to show growth on offense, just being able to get what we want and not get too anxious,” he said. “We shoot really good in practice, and part of what I want to see is some composure and us getting what we want instead of us just kind of getting a decent shot, and knowing the difference in what is a really good look and what is just an average look.”

Seth Horton came off the bench to lead Lincoln with 13 points, and Connor Davis added 11. Sawyer Robbins had seven rebounds for the Patriots.

DCA girls rout Lincoln

Danville Christian 57, Lincoln County 21 – Defense carried the day for DCA (3-0), which allowed fewer points than it had against any district opponent in its previous four seasons in the KHSAA.

The Lady Warriors forced Lincoln (2-2) into 29 turnovers,

Showing their progress on the defensive end and bringing an end to a grueling period of defensive drills in practice.

“I’ve got a list of things I want to get done, and we stopped all that and started drilling defensive drills,” DCA coach Billy Inmon said. “We’ve just been doing those instead … and I told them once I see that you’re doing what I ask, we’ll stop the drills and just start playing. So after tonight I think we can start that.”

DCA led 22-6 early in the second quarter and 41-14 early in the third, and Inmon said he likes what he has seen from his team’s defense in wins over Somerset, Campbellsville and Lincoln, who have averaged 24.3 points in those games, as well as the results he has seen from its work in the weight room installed at the school last year.

They’re playing defense as a team instead of as individuals this year,” Inmon said. “And the other thing I’ve noticed is we’re just a lot stronger. We’re the strongest team we’ve ever had at DCA, and I think we’re just a strong team, period.”

Grace Mbugua had 27 points and 13 rebounds for DCA, and Amauri Blackford had 10 points and 12 boards.

The Lady Warriors are putting up more shots from the perimeter,

And Inmon said his shooters are better and more willing to pull the trigger.

“They’ve just improved as shooters, and we really feel good about them,” he said. “In the fourth quarter I told Amauri if she didn’t shoot a 3-pointer that the whole team was going to have to run 20 laps. She’s a great shooter and she just was not shooting the ball tonight. She said, ‘Do I have to make one?’ and I said, ‘No, you just have to shoot it.’”

Lincoln’s first-year coach, Caitlin Hall Parson, said her team did some good things in their first three games but didn’t show them against DCA.

“Except for tonight, I think our attitude’s completely different than last year, and our effort as well,” Parson said. “Tonight was not the effort we’ve been playing with, and I’m very disappointed in that.”

MaKayla Greer led the Lady Patriots with 11 points.