DCA boys smother Boyle County

Published 7:07 pm Wednesday, December 27, 2023

The Danville Christian boys aren’t doing everything right yet, but they’re doing just fine on defense.

The Warriors have gotten off to a flying start and have opened a formidable lead in the 45th District race thanks to a defense that ranks among the best in the state in the early weeks of the season.

Their intensity on defense has allowed them to compensate for some flaws on offense on most nights, as they did Tuesday night when they locked down Boyle County to grind out a 44-33 victory in their final game before Christmas.

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Host DCA held Boyle to its lowest point total in two years to win a battle between preseason top-five teams in the 12th Region.

The Warriors still have work to do on offense, and they’re doing that while they have some extra practice time this week, but coach Don Story has no complaints with the way they’re defending.

“I don’t want to brag too much because that could hurt you, but our defense has been playing pretty well,” Story said. “Our offense needs to catch up with our defense, so we’ll be working some on offense.”

DCA (5-2, 3-0 district) is allowing only 42.3 points per game to date, and the only team to score more than 50 against the Warriors was Evangel Christian, which is averaging 78.6 points but got only 61 against them.

The Warriors held Boyle (1-6, 0-1) to 25 percent shooting from the field as the Rebels scored fewer points than they had since a 65-23 loss to Lexington Catholic on Dec. 9, 2021.

Emmanuel Dut scored 14 points to lead DCA, which shot 32 percent and was just 3 for 18 from 3-point range but kept the lead after scoring seven straight points to break a 19-all halftime tie.

Boyle managed only five baskets and 14 points in the second half. It didn’t score in the first 5:16 of the second half and scored only once in the final 3:39 of the game.

Story said DCA’s defensive plan focused on keeping Boyle guard Montavin Quisenberry from getting open lanes to the basket and keeping shooting threats such as Guy Turner from getting open looks.

“You just try to limit what the other team is capable of doing,” Story said. “We tried to keep it tight and then get out on certain ones.”

Poor shooting is nothing new for Boyle. The Rebels have struggled to put the ball in the basket more often than not in the early going, and coach Dennie Webb said some of that has to do with the fact that they aren’t yet fully in shape.

“We’ve got a ways to go offensively and shooting the ball, and part of that is just getting more reps,” Webb said. “You can shoot it well early on in practice … but then when you get in a game and lose your legs it changes that. Part of it’s learning to shoot while you’re in game situations, being a little tired, and we’ll get to that.”

All eight players who saw action for Boyle on Tuesday got a late start on the season because they were part of the football team that won the Class 4A championship Dec. 1. Even so, Webb said it’s time to see signs of improvement on offense.

“It’s a unique situation, but we’ve got to have a sense of urgency about at least knowing what we’re doing, executing what little bit of offensive sets we’ve got in. We’ve got to be able to execute those at this point so we can build on them and put more in,” he said.

Quisenberry scored 13 points to lead Boyle, but no other Rebel scored more than five.

The lead changed hands eight times in the first half, but DCA got a 3-pointer from Brayden Fugate, who had 11 points and two baskets from Lual Ayiei, who had 10, to take a 26-19 lead.

Boyle was within 36-30 with 3:40 to play and didn’t give up another field goal, but the Warriors sealed their win by hitting eight of 12 free throws down the stretch.

“I was happy with our defensive performance,” Webb said. “Our defense has been really bad here lately, so we tried to get back to basics. I think I was throwing too much at them. … Tonight I thought we played about as good a half-court defense as we had all year, but then the offense wasn’t there.”

The Rebels played Henry Clay on Thursday, and they’ll play three games in Mercer County’s tournament next week.

“We’re going to get there. I’m fully confident of that,” Webb said. “We’ve got some good players and we’ve got a lot of parts. They can do good things. We’ve just got to keep them together and just keep building.”

Titus Boyd had 10 rebounds and Ayiei and Dut had nine each for DCA, which outrebounded Boyle 42-32 to beat the Rebels for the second time in eight meetings.

DCA took a four-game winning streak into its Christmas break, including district wins over Lincoln, Garrard and Boyle counties. The Warriors don’t play again until next Thursday, when it begins a three-game run in the Ashland Invitational, where the work will continue on getting more comfortable on offense.

“We need to settle into our offense and not be anxious,” Story said. “It seems like we’re in a rush to score instead of just taking our time and getting the best possible look.”

Girls basketball

Danville Christian 58, Boyle County 43 – DCA extended the program’s best start since the school joined the KHSAA by building a big lead early in the game and keeping Boyle at bay in the second half.

DCA (6-0, 3-0 45th District) led 23-3 after 11 minutes behind nine points from Paisley Metz, who led the Lady Warriors with 15 points.

Boyle (4-3, 0-1) went 1 for 18 from the field during that stretch and shot just 21 percent overall, including 2 for 25 from 3-point range.

The Lady Rebels never threatened but kept the game from getting out of hand thanks to pressure defense that forced 35 DCA turnovers. The margin never surpassed 23 points.

Amauri Blackford had 14 points and Grace Mbugua had 11 points and 13 rebounds for DCA, which outrebounded Boyle 51-35 and forced 18 turnovers.

Peyton Bugg had 14 points and eight rebounds, Addison Yates had 12 points and six rebounds and Andie Glasscock had seven boards for Boyle.