Fast start propels Ads to All 'A' finals berth

January 29, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

When the Danville Admirals hit the ground running, Harrodsburg just couldn't keep up.

Danville secured its spot in the 12th Region All "A" Classic championship before the first period ended Wednesday night, racing to an 18-point lead and rolling to a 91-84 victory.

The host Admirals were 12-for-19 from the field in the first quarter, and they scored 10 points off six Harrodsburg turnovers, including eight in a row in a 13-0 run.

"That was our best first quarter," Pippen said. "We jumped on them early, and I thought that kind of set the tempo of the game."


How early? Harrodsburg coach Spencer Tatum said the tempo was set six seconds after the opening tip, when Chad Bartleson buried a 3-pointer to send the Admirals off and running.

"We talked about how we wanted to do anything we could do to prevent that from happening, and they got off to a great start when Chad hit that 3 off the opening tip," Tatum said.

"We said before the game we wanted to go ahead and blow them out," said Bartleson, who was 3-for-3 from long range in the first quarter. "I guess that 3 hyped up the team, and we started playing good."

Danville (6-10) scored 13 straight points to take an 18-4 lead with 3:25 left in the first quarter, and the Admirals' lead grew to 31-13 in the final minute of the period.

"We've had a tendency to come out and not play hard until the second or third quarter," Pippen said. "We're trying to emphasize to the kids the importance of playing 32 minutes."

Danville couldn't maintain its blistering pace in the second half, and Harrodsburg (7-11) racked up 36 points in the fourth quarter to cut the margin to single digits. But the Admirals still enjoyed their highest-scoring offense in 49 games, since they broke 90 points for the third time in the 2001-02 season.

Championship game is 7 p.m. Friday

Pippen said the Ads, who have won four of their last five games, will have to play well for more than one quarter when they host four-time defending champion Somerset in the championship game at 7 p.m. Friday for a berth in next week's statewide All "A" Classic.

"We're definitely playing better, but we're going to have to come out and play an even better game Friday if we expect to win," he said. "(Somerset plays) hard, sound defense, and we're going to have to do a better job defensively and make better decisions offensively."

Bartleson scored 12 of his team-high 20 points in the first quarter, and Phillip Dunn scored nine of his 15 in the period and had five points and two steals during Danville's 13-0 run.

"I felt like we did a good job of pressuring the ball early," Pippen said. "I told the kids, 'Our offense needs to come from our defense.'"

Harrodsburg committed six of its 15 turnovers in the first quarter.

"Their quickness took a toll on us in the first quarter," Tatum said.

The first meeting between these teams on Dec. 16 was much closer, as Harrodsburg led at halftime before Danville rallied to win 70-65.

"We had several chances to win that game, but tonight every time we made a little run they did a good job of countering it," Tatum said. "I thought we played pretty well in the third quarter and then you look up at the end of the third quarter and we're still down 19."

The Pioneers outscored Danville 23-9 in the final four minutes, but it was too little, too late.

"The effort was great in the second half for us," he said.

Reserve guard Adam Gray, who entered the game shooting 15 percent from the field, was 5-for-10 from the field and scored all of his career-high 21 points in the second half for Harrodsburg. He was 3-for-6 from 3-point range.

"We've been waiting on that all year," Tatum said. "He played well for us last year, so we knew he had it in him."

Justin Doolin had 20 points and Mark Dunn had 17 points for Harrodsburg, which shot 43.8 percent (28-for-64) from the field. Dunn and Shane Webb had seven rebounds each.

Danville shot 50.8 percent (33-for-65) from the field after a 12-for-19 first quarter. The Admirals got 14 points and nine rebounds from Steven Gray and 13 points from reserve Eric Caldwell.

HARRODSBURG (7-11) - Shane Webb 10, Mark Dunn 17, Justin Doolin 20, Robbie Merriman 3, Mariqus Brown 4, Travis White 6, Adam Gray 21, Cory Jackson 3.

DANVILLE (6-10) - Chad Bartleson 20, Steven Gray 14, Ben Carter 6, Phillip Dunn 15, Ronnie Hawkins 4, Eric Caldwell 13, Rich Witten 2, Chase Overstreet 6, Darius Baughman 4, Jeffrey Guest 1, Spencer Perrin 3, Damien Young 3.

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