Lions oust Pioneers

March 02, 2004|JILL ERWIN

LANCASTER - The Garrard County boys have played better-looking games, but they haven't played one that felt so good in a while.

The Golden Lions shot 36 percent and were outrebounded by 12, but they still beat Harrodsburg 52-44 Monday in the 46th District Tournament on their home floor.

Garrard will face Mercer County in the championship game Thursday after Mercer topped Burgin 71-66 in Monday's opener.

The Lions' win over Harrodsburg erased the pain of last year when the Pioneers topped a Garrard team that had won both previous meetings. Garrard junior Spencer Crutchfield said the Lions remembered that game, and struggled a little bit early because of it.

"We were kind of tight early, but that's to be expected after last year," said Crutchfield, who scored a game-high 18 points. "I think we came out in the second half and did what we had to do to win."


That they did. After holding just a one-point halftime lead at 19-18, Garrard fell behind 22-21 after a Shane Webb free throw and Adam Gray 3-pointer pushed Harrodsburg to its last lead. Garrard went on a 14-4 run to close the third period with a nine-point lead. The Pioneers never got closer than seven after that.

"We tried to make some adjustments at halftime," Garrard coach Cecil Combs said. "I tried to come up with something to attack that little zone they were playing."

Included in that run was one of Zach Doan's two 3-pointers. Combs called a timeout midway of the third quarter to reiterate to his team that Garrard didn't need to take 3s against the Pioneers' zone. Just 23 seconds later, Doan did just that.

"He hit a couple big shots for us. I was about ready to get on him for shooting them," Combs said. "I'm wanting to get him out of the game and my assistant coaches are restraining me.

"Zach gave us a big game off the bench. We got turnovers on people he was guarding, which we've got to have."

Harrodsburg did have turnovers, and they were costly. The Pioneers gave the ball away 23 times, which helped negate their 43-31 edge in rebounds.

A frustrating night for Harrodsburg's coach

Monday's game was just the last in a long line of frustrating nights for Harrodsburg coach Spencer Tatum, who said it was probably the most frustrating he's ever been a part of.

"We made mistakes in the fourth quarter tonight that we made in the first game of the year," Tatum said. "We played really bad, they gave us every opportunity to take control of the game and we never did capitalize. The frustrating part is, we're not trying to do anything very difficult. It's pass the ball, catch the ball, shoot the ball. It's the simple things, the little things, that we don't do."

Harrodsburg could never get Mark Dunn involved in the offense. The senior finished with seven points, five of them coming on free throws, and took only five shots. Combs said his team focused on keeping Dunn off the offensive glass, but Tatum said his team did a better job shutting Dunn down than anything.

"We took him out of the game ourselves with 23 turnovers," Tatum said. "He only took five shots. We failed to give him the ball when he was in position.

"We only had six assists. I thought tonight was one of the most selfish games we've played all year. Everybody wanted to dribble, dribble, dribble, when all you had to do was look up and there's three people wide open. But we didn't make those passes."

Harrodsburg hit 17 of 50 shots, a 34 percent mark, and was led in scoring by Shane Webb and Mariqus Brown with 11 points each. Justin Doolin grabbed 12 rebounds, while Dunn had 10.

Garrard finished 18-for-50 from the field and had only 13 turnovers. Doan finished with 11 points and Sean Paul Leavell had 10 points, while Crutchfield had a team-high eight rebounds.

"I thought we played real ugly, probably the whole ballgame. I feel very fortunate to get a win. It was ugly, but we'll take the win because it gives us a chance to move on," Combs said.

Crutchfield said Garrard knows what it has to do to win the district title.

"We need to pick up the defensive pressure," Crutchfield said. "We've got to get out and push the ball. If we do that, I think we'll be fine."

HARRODSBURG (10-15) - Robbie Merriman 5, Shane Webb 11, Mariqus Brown 11, Mark Dunn 7, Adam Gray 3, Justin Doolin 7.

GARRARD (11-14) - Spencer Crutchfield 18, Sean Paul Leavell 10, Jake Cool 3, Zach Doan 11, Dan Leavell 6, Brandon Sebastian 2, Spencer Toler 2.

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