Casey outlasts Pioneers

December 07, 2003|MIKE MARSEE

LIBERTY - His older brother was supposed to take the shot, but as little brothers often do, Dustin Vest wanted to prove he could get the job done just as well.

There was no sibling rivalry at play, only a desire to turn a potentially bad night into a good one for the Casey County Rebels.

Vest delivered, beating the buzzer with a game-tying 3-point goal at the end of regulation Friday night. Casey rode the momentum from that shot into overtime, where the Rebels put away Harrodsburg for their first victory of the season, 59-56.

"I guess the right Vest ended up with the ball, and he hit a big shot for us," Casey coach Shawn Conley said.


A spacing problem on the final play left sophomore Dustin and senior Derek standing too close to each other on the left side of the 3-point arc. Either of them could have easily fielded the pass from Charlie Fox, but Dustin Vest said he knew he wasn't supposed to get the ball.

"It was supposed to go to Derek coming off the ball," he said. "I just wanted to shoot it. As soon as it left my hand, I could tell it was going in."

"Thank goodness," Derek Vest said. "Me and Dustin were right next to each other, and I saw him grab it and shoot. I was supposed to take the shot, but I didn't care as long as somebody hit it."

Besides, Derek Vest got his time to shine as well, scoring seven of Casey's 11 points in overtime to finish with a game-high 23 points.

Harrodsburg coach Spencer Tatum said Dustin Vest's bucket was a crushing blow to the Pioneers.

"I know the kids were deflated, because I was deflated," Tatum said.

On a night when Casey recognized its 1992-93 team - the school's only team to reach the state tournament - the Rebels gave the former players something to cheer about with a gritty win in a typically sloppy early season game.

Casey (1-1) had its share of problems in its season-opening loss to Russell County, and some of them - 21 turnovers and shaky shooting in the first half, for example - were still evident Friday. But Conley said he hopes this win will help the Rebels get on the right track.

"I'm hoping this will kind of jump-start us," Conley said.

"Coach has been telling us we need to come together and play," Dustin Vest said. "This win will pick us up some, and hopefully we can pull together and win some games."

Harrodsburg (0-2) might have had this win had it not been for the final 5.9 seconds that set up the tying 3-pointer.

"We put ourselves in position to lose by letting them hit a 3 with less than six seconds to go because we didn't play the perimeter," Tatum said. "It's a full 32-minute game, and in a close game every mistake is magnified."

Harrodsburg made another one early in the overtime period after taking a 52-48 lead. Adam Gray fouled Derek Vest on a 3-point attempt, and Vest hit all three free throws to make it a one-point game.

After a Harrodsburg free throw, back-to-back layups by Dustin Thompson and Dustin Vest gave Casey a 55-53 lead, but the Pioneers went back on top with one free throw by Mark Dunn and two by Mariqus Brown.

Derek Vest gave Casey the lead for good on a short jumper with 40 seconds left, then hit two free throws with 10 seconds left after Dunn fired an air ball on Harrodsburg's next trip. The Pioneers got one more shot, but Gray missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the game.

Harrodsburg had the upper hand in the third quarter, when Shane Webb scored seven of his team-high 13 points to help the Pioneers take their largest lead at 32-25.

Casey tied the game at 37-all on Keith Price's layup at the start of the fourth period, and neither team led by more than three points after that.

Improved shooting kept Casey in the game in the second half. The Rebels were an unimpressive 14-for-32 after halftime, but that followed a first half that saw them go 6-for-27.

"We shot the ball much better in the second half," Conley said.

They shot 33.9 percent (20-for-52) overall, while Harrodsburg shot 42.2 percent (19-for-45).

Dustin Vest and Price had nine points each for Casey, and Jason Sanders had a team-high seven rebounds as the Rebels outrebounded Harrodsburg 31-28. Webb had nine rebounds for the Pioneers.

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