Ads struggle in defensive bout with Walton-Verona in first round of All “A” Classic
FRANKFORT — Danville’s offense couldn’t make its mark in the first round of the All “A” Classic boys basketball state tournament against Walton-Verona.
The Bearcats kept the pace to a crawl, holding the Ads’ offense in check in a 46-33 win.
Danville held Walton-Verona to just two field goals (2-of-10 shooting) in the second half, but Walton-Verona hit 17-of-25 free throws to put the game away.
“Basketball is a game of matchups,” Danville coach Ed McKinney said. “I wouldn’t call us a great shooting team statistically, and we need to be able to drive it. It’s hard to drive it against (Dieonte Miles). I think we’ll eventually be a better shooting team, but we’re not a good shooting team statistically.”
Miles, listed at 6-feet 8, forced Danville to take contested shots in the paint. When those shots didn’t fall, the Ads turned to the outside, but couldn’t find the right range, finishing 5-for-21 from deep.
“These kids had never really been in that situation, that depth perception, sometimes it’s hard to find the basket,” McKinney said. “If you haven’t played a lot, plus it’s a big stage. It feels like a big stage.”
Danville had a 12-10 lead after one quarter and trailed just 24-22 at halftime behind nine points from DeShaud St. Martin. St. Martin was 3-for-7 from deep in the first half but scored just one point in the second half.
McKinney praised St. Martin’s defense on Miles, who went 1-for-6 from the field.
“I thought Shaud really held up nicely against him,” the coach said. “He battled him.”
Danville was led by Tanner Ford’s 11 points. St. Martin finished with 10 points, Jared Southerland had seven points, Tevin Kavanaugh had three and Jaleel Warren had two points. The Ads finished 11-of-45 from the field, with most shots being contested near the rim.
“We needed to drive, and we had to get around (Miles),” McKinney said. “He makes it hard because you almost want to shoot (3-pointers). We talk all the time, the shot you don’t want is a challenged two. We want a layup, drive, spot-up 3. We want other teams to shoot the challenged two. Against them, it’s what you need to do to win.
“But I thought we played hard. We gave up two field goals in the second half. They just play at their pace.”
The Ads finished with just eight turnovers, one of their best marks of the season in that category. McKinney liked the ball security but said his team may need to take more risks in the future.
“Some people might say we need to turn it over more and try and push it, maybe we’re working on too much ball security,” McKinney said. “Maybe we need to get it out and take more chances. That’s something to think about. We only had eight turnovers, we only had 33 points.”
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All “A” Classic first round
At Frankfort Convention Center
WALTON VERONA 10 14 9 13 — 46
DANVILLE 12 10 6 5 — 33
WALTON VERONA (16-4): Zach Clinkenbeard 16, Dieonte Miles 12, Evan Anderson 6, Austin Lay 5, Jeremy Moran 2, Kameron Pardee 2, Grant Grubbs 2, Curry Shazier 1
DANVILLE (7-13): Tanner Ford 11, DeShaud St. Martin 10, Jared Southerland 7, Tevin Kavanugh 3, Jaleel Warren 2.