Danville uses defense to beat Harrodsburg

December 17, 2003|MIKE MARSEE

When the Danville Admirals win games this basketball season, this is how they will probably do it.

They will win with a voracious defense, one that feeds on their opponent's mistakes and forces more of those mistakes than usual. And Craig Pippen won't be choosy about who gets the job done.

It was defense that allowed Danville to distance itself from Harrodsburg on Tuesday night, as the host Admirals forced 26 turnovers and turned most of them into points in the second half en route to a 70-65 victory in a matchup of two teams looking for their first win.

"It's a good win, because it came from effort," Pippen said.

That effort originated from the second team, which provided a defensive spark in the third quarter and underscored the message the Danville coach has been trying to deliver.


"I've been telling them all year we're going to put kids on the floor who show emotion and play defense, and that's what we did," Pippen said. "I don't care if we run an offensive set all year as long as we play defense."

An unlikely lineup of three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior did just that at the start of the second half, pulling the momentum toward Danville (1-2) after Harrodsburg (0-5) led most of the first half.

Roderick Payne, Spencer Perrin, Chase Overstreet, Tyler Short and Rich Witten turned up the pressure on the Pioneers, allowing the Admirals to regain the lead.

"I think we played good in the JV game, and it carried over to this game," said Overstreet, who scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half. "It was just effort, working hard on defense and making sure everybody's picking it up."

It continued when the starters returned - Danville used its third starting lineup in as many games, this one without senior Phillip Dunn, who has been suspended indefinitely by Pippen - and inherited a one-point lead the young unit had earned.

"I think it sent a little message to them," Pippen said.

Tatum frustrated with Pioneers

While Pippen's tactics had the desired effect for Danville, Harrodsburg coach Spencer Tatum said nothing seems to be having an effect on the Pioneers.

"I'm just about at a loss right now," Tatum said. "I've tried everything and nothing's working. We've got kids who have been playing for two, three, four years, and they act like this is the first year they've played any basketball. It's extremely frustrating.

"Last year we just weren't physically as good as a lot of teams, but this year we're better off physically, but mentally we're really not a smart basketball team."

Harrodsburg grabbed the lead late in the first quarter, holding Danville scoreless over the final 3:46 of the period and scoring nine straight points to go up 14-6.

The Pioneers stayed in front throughout the second quarter despite eight turnovers, but Tatum said he knew Danville would be more intense in the second half.

"I said they've got to feel good about their chances in the second half," he said.

Meanwhile, Pippen was lighting a fire under his team.

"We turned up the pressure," he said. "We knew they were a little shaky at the guards, so we wanted to take advantage of that."

"Defense wins games," Overstreet said. "If we play defense like that, we can win some games this year."

Danville led on three occasions in the third quarter before taking the lead for good at 50-49 with 5:18 remaining on Overstreet's 3-point goal - the Admirals' third of the fourth period and his second.

The shot started a 10-2 run that included five points by Chad Bartleson. Danville led 57-51, then stretched that to 67-55 with an 8-0 run that included four points by Darius Baughman, who had 14 in all.

Harrodsburg cut the margin to four points in the final minute, when the Admirals hit only three of eight free throws, but the Pioneers got no closer.

Harrodsburg had 14 turnovers in the second half and 26 in all - and its comeback attempt was also curtailed by poor free-throw shooting. The Pioneers were 4-for-11 at the line in the fourth quarter and 13-for-26 overall.

The Pioneers shot 46.3 percent (25-for-54) from the field, while Danville shot 44.1 percent (26-for-59) and outrebounded Harrodsburg 37-33, getting six boards from Baughman and five each from Ben Carter and Ronnie Hawkins.

Mark Dunn led Harrodsburg with 23 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and four assists. Justin Doolin added 15 points and nine rebounds.

HARRODSBURG (0-5) - Shane Webb 5, Mark Dunn 23, Justin Doolin 15, Robbie Merriman 7, Mariqus Brown 6, Jared Holt 3, Travis White 2, Adam Gray 4.

DANVILLE (1-2) - Chad Bartleson 7, Ben Carter 3, Ronnie Hawkins 7, Eric Caldwell 10, Chase Overstreet 14, Rich Witten 3, Steven Gray 6, Darius Baughman 14, Spencer Perrin 2, Damien Young 4.

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