DCA boys go cold in All ‘A’ loss to Newport

Published 9:00 am Friday, February 2, 2024

CORBIN – The Danville Christian boys were doing a good job of dictating the tempo in the All “A” Classic, but only as long as their shots were falling.

Poor shooting in the second half put an end to the Warriors’ attempt to take down No. 6 Newport by slowing down the game.

They managed only four baskets in the second half Friday as Newport pulled away for a 46-34 victory in a quarterfinal at Corbin Arena, and that meant they could no longer manage how the game was played.

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“As long as we didn’t have to extend out and put a little pressure on them everything was going OK,” DCA coach Don Story said. “But when our shots didn’t go and we fell behind, we had to pick up the pace a little bit defensively and it kind of fit into what they were trying to do and what they’re capable of doing.”

DCA led 23-19 at halftime after hitting nine of 18 shots from the field, but the Warriors made only four of 18 attempts in the second half, and they were just 2 for 13 from 3-point range.

Newport held the Warriors to three points in the third quarter and outscored them 17-8 in the fourth.

“It was just one of those games where we kind of went into a lull offensively,” Story said.

DCA (14-5) had notched its first All “A” win a day earlier, pulling away from Breathitt County in the second half for a 56-34 victory. But things were different against a much more athletic Newport team that went on to win the championship Sunday.

The Warriors led 19-11 in the second quarter but were outscored 10-2 late in the first half and early in the second after center Lual Ayiel picked up his third foul.

They continued to slow the pace even after Newport (19-3) took a 27-25 lead, but they managed only one point in a span of 7:36 while the Wildcats went up 34-26. DCA stayed close with 3-pointers by Braden Fugate and Titus Boyd, but Newport scored eight of the final 10 points.

Emmanuel Dut had a team-high 10 points for DCA, including all three of its points in the third quarter. Boyd and Fugate had eight points each.

Story said the All “A” experience was a good one for the Warriors even though it ended badly.

“Any time you get to play good competition in an arena or situation like this you get positives from it,” he said. “And we’ll go home and look at the video and see exactly what happened in that  second half. We think we kind of know, but we’ve got to fix a few things to be able to finish off or be in the end of a game against a great team like that.”

Ayiei and Boyd scored 17 points each and Boyd had 16 in DCA’s first-round win over Breathitt (12-6) in which the Warriors took control with a 13-2 run at the end of the first half that gave them a 25-13 lead and put the game away with a 15-2 run in the fourth quarter that made it 48-24.

DCA shot 51 percent from the field and held the Bobcats to 30 percent.

That gave the Warriors a feeling they were denied two years ago when they suffered a nine-point loss to Murray in their All “A” debut.

“It felt a lot better, coming here and winning a state game,” Boyd said Thursday. “Two years ago we had that opportunity. We weren’t as good. We’re more experienced now, we’re older, so it’s a good feeling.”

They weren’t feeling as good Friday, but Story said the good and not-so-good parts of their two games in Corbin will help the Warriors as they focus on the larger goals in front of them at the end of the season.

“This is a positive experience and a growing experience for us that will hopefully get us better and prepared for the tournaments to come,” he said. “We’ve had a couple of stretches … where we’ve lost big games and they’ve done a pretty good job of coming back. I think our kids see the bigger picture, and this is not our ultimate goal.”

Scoring summary

DANVILLE CHRISTIAN (14-5) — Lual Ayiei 1-3 0-0 2, Emmanuel Dut 4-5 1-2 10, Billy Inmon 0-2 0-0 0, Braden Fugate 3-8 0-0 8, Titus Boyd 3-11 0-0 8, Noah Imfeld 2-7 0-0 6. Totals 13-36 1-2 34.

NEWPORT (19-3) — Taylen Kenney 5-9 3-4 14, Jabari Covington 2-6 0-0 5, Deshaun Jackson 3-4 0-1 6, James Turner 5-8 2-4 12, Griffin Starks 3-5 0-2 7, DaShawn Anderson 0-0 0-0 0, Noah Silverton 0-0 0-0 0, Amontae Lowe 0-1 2-4 2. Totals 18-33 7-15 46.

Danville Christian 11-12-3-8 — 34

Newport 7-12-10-17 — 46

3-Point Goals—DCA 7-24 (Ayiei 0-1, Dut 1-1, Inmon 0-1, Fugate 2-5, Boyd 2-9, Imfield 2-7), Newport 3-8 (Kenney 1-1, Covington 1-3, Jackson 0-1, Turner 0-1, Starks 1-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—DCA 15 (Ayiei 5), Newport 18 (Covington, Turner 7). Assists—DCA 4 (Dut, Boyd 2), Newport 9 (Covington 4). Turnovers—DCA 10, Newport 5. Total Fouls–DCA 12, Newport 8.