Sweet Sixteen: Late steal lifts Johnson Central over Campbell County 58-56

mfields@herald-leader.comMarch 19, 2014 

Dalton Adkins' layup with 4.6 seconds left Wednesday night vaulted Johnson Central to a 58-56 victory over Campbell County in the first round of the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys' Sweet Sixteen.

With the score tied at 56, Campbell County tried to hold for a final shot.

But Central's Braxton Blair stole the ball, then tossed it ahead for Adkins' winner.

"We give Braxton a hard time about not playing much defense and stuff, and for him to come up with that steal, everybody was just kind of in shock," Adkins deadpanned. "But we're proud of him. He just made a good outlet pass to me, and I don't know if I saw the rim. I just went up and it happened to go in."

After a timeout, Campbell County was unable to get a shot off before the buzzer, and De'Ondre Jackson's late attempt wedged between the rim and the backboard.

Kyle Gullett led No. 8 Johnson Central (26-6) with 22 points and nine rebounds. Truman Salyer added 15 points.

No. 13 Campbell County (21-9) got a monster effort from 6-foot-5 sophomore Matt Wilson — 16 points and 21 rebounds. Corey Holbrook led Camel scorers with 18, and Jackson added 16.

Johnson Central goes on to Friday's quarterfinals to meet Scott County, a 77-66 winner over Fleming County.

"For 32 minutes, we could have played a lot better. We didn't play our best game," winning coach Tommy McKenzie said. "But I thought we did a really good job of making plays throughout the game to keep us in it and give ourselves a chance to win it at the end. I can't say enough about these guys."

Johnson Central led 11-10 before Campbell County, over the first and second periods, went on a 13-0 run.

Wilson started the run with a baseline jumper, and Holbrook added two free throws to make it 14-11 at the quarter stop.

The Camels kept rolling early in the second, get baskets by Jackson, Blake Losey, Holbrook and, from three-point range, Jackson again.

That made it 23-11 for Campbell.

The Golden Eagles cut into the lead, though, and scored the last five points of the half — a Salyer three-pointer and a steal-and-layup by Gullett — to pull to within 31-26.

Both teams shot 11-for-30 (36.7 percent) from the field in the half. But Campbell made 7 of 8 free throws to Central's 2 of 4. The Camels also had a 10-2 advantage in second-chance points.

In the second half, Central used an 11-2 run to take a 44-42 lead late in the third quarter. It was 46-44 for the Golden Eagles through three quarters.

The nip-tuck fourth quarter was tied at 49, 52, 54 and 56.

"I thought our kids played hard tonight. They gutted it out," Campbell County Coach Aric Russell said. "I thought their pressure bothered us and caused us to make a lot of turnovers that killed us in the game. ... They made a great defensive play at the end and scored, and then we couldn't get a shot off at the end."

Johnson Central finished with a 16-2 advantage in points off turnovers, as Campbell's 14 errors doubled Central's total.

The Golden Eagles shot 22 of 56 from the field (39.3 percent) to the Camels' 21 of 50 (42 percent).

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.

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