Boys: Henry Clay locks down Scott County, forces draw for No. 1 in district

mfields@herald-leader.comFebruary 5, 2013 

It was win, lose and draw at Henry Clay on Tuesday night.

Defense-minded Henry Clay got the victory, beating Scott County 71-51.

Poor-shooting Scott County's loss meant the 42nd District's regular-season race ended in a three-way tie.

That means there will be a blind draw among Bryan Station, Henry Clay and Scott County to determine the No. 1 seed and a matchup against Sayre in the district tournament. The other two teams will square off in the other elimination game.

Henry Clay junior Trey Grundy said he will pray for a good outcome from the draw. Blue Devils Coach Daniel Brown said, "It's up to the basketball gods, so there's no use worrying about it."

While Brown was happy to force the district tie, he was more pleased about how his players performed in a showdown of top 10 teams.

No. 7 Henry Clay had dropped three of its previous four games, and there was a common denominator to the losses: the Devils were out-rebounded by Madison Central, Lafayette and Christian Brothers, Mo.

But they dominated the boards against No. 6 Scott County, winning the rebound battle 48-23. They also played terrific defense. The Cardinals shot 31 percent (16 of 51).

"We locked down, and got back to playing defense and rebounding," Grundy said.

"And we got back to having fun."

Henry Clay led by eight (25-17) at halftime, but it got rolling in the third quarter. The Devils opened with a 12-2 run, highlighted by fast-break dunks by Jordan Green and Christen Cunningham, and an alley-oop jam by Darien Tichenor.

Down 18, Scott County never recovered.

Green, a 6-foot-4 junior who got his 1,000th point last week, led the winners with 20 points and nine rebounds. Cunningham, a 6-2 junior point guard, had 15 points and five assists.

Grundy, a 6-6 junior, had 11 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Jeremiah Tisdale chipped in with seven points and nine rebounds.

"A total team effort with defensive intensity and rebounding," Brown said.

Scott County relies heavily on senior guards Trent Gilbert and Quin Richardson for its offense, but both of them struggled against Henry Clay's long-arms defense.

Gilbert had 19 points, but most came after the game was decided. He missed his first nine shots and finished 5-for-18 from the field. Richardson got off only seven shots and had six points.

"One of those nights," Coach Billy Hicks said. "You gotta give Henry Clay credit. We can sit around and cry about them holding on our cuts all night, but if (the referees) don't call it, it's not a foul. We've got to adjust, and we didn't."

The loss didn't discourage Hicks at all.

"I told the guys, sometimes this year we weren't as good as we thought we were, and we're not as bad as we thought we were tonight," he said. "In the 30-some years I've been (coaching), I've been in this situation before and we came back to win the region championship."

Henry Clay 71, Scott Co. 51

SCOTT COUNTY (16-7) Gilbert 19, Richardson 6, Haddix 7, Kindred 1, Short 4, Shurman 3, Doss 6, Portwood 3, Crank 2.

HENRY CLAY (19-6) Green 20, Grundy 11, Cunningham 15, Tichenor 4, Ware 5, Newby 4, Barnes 3, Setzer 2, Tisdale 7.

Scott County 11 6 12 22—51

Henry Clay 13 12 24 22—71

Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337 Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com

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