RICHMOND — Shelby Valley isn't here to defend its back-to-back titles in the boys' Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic, but 15th Region rival Betsy Layne is ably carrying the banner for the mountains.
Betsy Layne beat Danville 60-53 in the All "A" semifinals Saturday in EKU's McBrayer Arena, extending the 15th Region's winning streak to 11 in a row in this tournament.
Betsy Layne will face DeSales in the small-school finals Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
DeSales, runner-up to Shelby Valley last year, destroyed Newport Central Catholic 67-43 in Saturday's first semifinal. Brandon Brooks led the way with 27 points, including 7-for-9 three-point shooting.
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Betsy Layne figured to be a little sluggish in its semifinal after staying up late the night before. It slipped past West Carter 58-56 in overtime in a game that wasn't over until after midnight.
But the Bobcats looked anything but tired as they won their 12th game in a row to the reach the title game in their first All "A" appearance.
"They left this building at quarter-to-1 last night, but they showed their toughness by coming in and playing with a lot of fight and energy today," Danville Coach Matthew Yates said.
Betsy Layne Coach William Newsome Jr. said he let his players sleep in Saturday, and they had their "pre-game breakfast" at 11 a.m.
"I wasn't surprised we came out and played like we did," Newsome said. "I know what kind of heart these kids have."
Betsy Layne shot 60 percent in the first half to build a 14-point lead. The Admirals were as cold (23 percent) as Betsy Layne was hot.
The Bobcats stretched their lead to 21 points (51-30) in the fourth quarter before Danville made a late run.
Casey Adkins led the winners with 17 points and seven rebounds. Derek Tackett had 13 points, Nathan Martin 11 and Andrew Roberts 10.
Jacody Taylor had 16 points for Danville.
DeSales 67, NewCath 43: NewCath Coach Grant Brannen surveyed the stat sheet that showed DeSales hit 11 of 16 three-pointers, then shook his head.
"What can you say? It was their night."
Brannen had an early inkling of what was to come. On DeSales' first possession of the game, it missed a shot, got the rebound, and Brooks drilled a three. "That got things rolling for them," Brannen said. "My heart sank."
Brooks was 4-for-4 on threes in the first quarter, boosting DeSales to an 18-6 lead. Things didn't get any better for NewCath, the pre-tournament favorite, the rest of the afternoon.
Point guard Corbin Maynard had 12 points, eight assists and seven rebounds to help DeSales become the first team to score 60 points on NewCath this season.
Colts Coach John Mingus said the victory was built on more than threes. He pointed out that his team had only seven turnovers, won the boards 26-21, and limited NewCath to 39 percent shooting.
But Mingus admitted that when a team is raining threes, it can dampen an opponents' morale. "We shot the ball really well, and I think that deflated (NewCath) a little bit," he said.