Burgin's defense too much for KSD

February 20, 2004|Mike Marsee

It didn't take Burgin long to put away Kentucky School for the Deaf, and it took about the same amount of time for KSD to put the game behind it.

There wasn't a great deal of drama in the game Thursday night at Thomas Hall, as Burgin held KSD to a single point in the first quarter and coasted to a 72-42 victory.

But there was something to be gained for both teams. Burgin got the chance to work first on its defense, then on its depth. KSD got an opportunity to tune up for two important homecoming games this weekend. The team even took part in a pep rally minutes after the game.

The Bulldogs hit nearly half of their shots from the field and grabbed nearly twice as many rebounds as KSD. And it couldn't have gotten off to a better start, as far as Burgin coach Don Irvine was concerned.


Burgin's defense put its opponent in an early stranglehold for the second straight game. The Bulldogs allowed two points in the first quarter Tuesday at Model - though they lost 44-39 - and they allowed only one at KSD.

Burgin (10-13) scored the game's first six points, then scored 17 unanswered points after KSD (7-15) got on the board. The Colonels missed all seven of their shots from the field in the first quarter and committed six of their 20 turnovers in the period.

"I was really happy with our defense," Irvine said. "We've done a good job (in the first quarter), but our biggest thing has been stamina and getting people to be consistent coming off the bench."

The Bulldogs' bench players got plenty of minutes, though not in the conventional manner. Irvine tried replacing his entire starting lineup early in the second quarter, but he abandoned that after KSD used a 14-2 run to cut the margin from 23 points to 11.

After that, there was at least one starter in the game at all times until the final minutes. But except for a short time at the start of the second half, there were also reserves in the game at all times.

"We were trying to still get our starters some time, and the other boys got the opportunity to play with the older guys, too," Irvine said.

Billy Lange, KSD's acting head coach, said the Colonels' fortunes took a turn for the better when senior guard Kerry Helton, who led all scorers with 18 points, came off the bench in the second quarter.

"After Kerry came in the game, that made a big difference," Lange said. "Without Kerry, we didn't have a leader. The boys responded very well to Kerry."

Still, Lange said the margin of defeat would have been much worse had Irvine not kept Burgin in check. The Bulldogs didn't lead by more than 25 points until the fourth quarter.

"Burgin showed really good sportsmanship," said Lange, a former KSD head coach who is filling in while Paul Kulick is on a student-teaching assignment in Indiana. "They didn't press us. They could've had a lot higher score. We appreciate that very much."

Irvine said he was impressed with the way KSD played.

"KSD plays hard, and they hit some tough shots," Irvine said. "He's got them doing the best they can do."

KSD, which dressed only seven players to Burgin's 15, was preparing for a pair of games during this weekend's homecoming festivities.

The Colonels play North Carolina School for the Deaf tonight and West Virginia School for the Deaf on Saturday in what are probably their biggest games since they finished fourth in the Mason-Dixon Tournament last month.

"We know we have a chance to win both games," Lange said. "After homecoming, finishing up the season and the 45th District (Tournament), it's really tough."

Burgin was 29-for-60 (48.3 percent) from the field and 9-for-17 at the free-throw line. The Bulldogs also outrebounded KSD 43-22.

Joe Harris led Burgin with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Zack Gross had 15 points and 10 boards, Sean Bottoms also had 15 points and Bobby Wylie grabbed seven rebounds.

Michael Hayes had 16 points and Drew Meade had a team-high five rebounds for KSD, which was 15-for-44 (34.1 percent) from the field and 7-for-15 at the line.

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