Sophomore Keaston Brown scored 19 points and dished out six assists for Henry Clay in a 65-52 win over Bryan Station on Tuesday night.
It was the second meeting between the 42nd District rivals this season. Henry Clay lost at Bryan Station, 84-74, on Dec. 6. The two couldn’t meet again until the 42nd District tournament.
Brown was only 3-for-12 from the floor but connected on 12 of his 14 free-throw attempts. Henry Clay was 18 of 25 overall compared to a 5-for-10 charity clip for Bryan Station in the contest.
“There’s your stat line,” Blue Devils Coach Daniel Brown said of Henry Clay’s free-throw advantage. “We were 15 of 17 in the second half, that’s huge.”
Henry Clay started only one senior along with two juniors and two sophomores. Of the five, only junior Justin Mitchell — who finished with 12 points and three steals on Tuesday — logged major minutes for last season’s 28-6 squad that fell to Paul Laurence Dunbar in the 11th Region semifinals. Keaston, Daniel’s son, said the team is still building chemistry with one another.
Bryan Station took a 39-35 lead into the fourth quarter but Henry Clay never relented in transition, frequently coming up with two or three shot attempts around the rim on each possession.
“We’ll go through stretches where we just look out of control and don’t know what’s going on,” Daniel said. “We’ve gotta help ’em with that and tonight I thought we started doing a little bit of that.”
Keeping heads up when it comes to missed shots is a frequent pitch Henry Clay players hear from their coaches.
“Our coaches really preach about body language,” Keaston said. ‘Let that play go, you’re only as good as your next play.’ I just try to clear my head. The next one’s going in, and we try to preach that to our other teammates.”
Keaston, who’s emerged as one of Henry Clay’s primary scoring threats, receives the ‘daddy’s boy’ treatment all the time but doesn’t appear to let it faze him.
“I like when they say it, it gets me going,” Keaston said. “Some people may think I’m playing just cause my dad’s the coach, and I like when people think that, cause then I let my game talk.”
Nathan Mack, a freshman, led Bryan Station with 15 points on six of 10 shooting. Daniel was impressed with Mack’s smooth release.
“Looks like that’s name we’re gonna know a little bit down the road,” Daniel said.
Carl “Redd” Hutchinson was coaching in place of Bryan Station head coach Tommy Johnson, who was serving a suspension due to a recent ejection.
Eric “Boss” Boone had 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, but also turned the ball over eight times for the Defenders. David Demarcus had 10 points.
Henry Clay 65, Bryan Station 52
Bryan Station (7-6) — D. Boone 2, Demarcus 10, E. Boone 12, Clayton-Murphy 10, Mack 15, Groves 3.
Henry Clay (7-7) — Q. Jackson 4, Ford 5, Byars 7, Brown 19, Mitchell 12, Green 9, R. Jackson 4, William 3, Bean 2.