Bryan Station rally preserves streak

Bryan Station boys' basketball coach Champ Ligon had what he called "an intense conversation" with his team at halftime of Tuesday night's game at Henry Clay.

Ligon thought his Defenders, who trailed by 10 points, were still reveling in their upset of No. 2 Holmes last Friday and not paying enough attention to the task at hand.

So Ligon had a one-way talk with his players at the break.

"He was loud, he was yelling, and he was kicking stuff. It was crazy," Bryan Station senior Cameron Richardson said. "It reminded me of Bobby Knight."

Whatever the method, the message got through.

Bryan Station rallied to win 71-66, its ninth consecutive victory over the Blue Devils in four years.

"We believe in Coach and we take his word," said Defenders senior Charles Ashford. "He said we weren't playing hard enough, so we came out the second half and played a lot harder."

It took awhile for Bryan Station to catch up. It trailed 51-40 late in the third quarter before storming back to take a 54-52 lead.

A three-pointer by Montell Morones put the visitors ahead to stay at 57-54 with 4:50 left.

The Defenders widened the gap to 10 with 30 seconds to go before Henry Clay made a late but futile run.

Richardson led 17th-ranked Bryan Station with 19 points. Ashford, who lit up Holmes for 35 points, had 18 points, nine rebounds and four assists against Henry Clay.

Morones and Jeremiah Mabson added 13 points apiece for the winners.

Last year the Defenders relied heavily on All-Stater Shelvin Mack to get them through tough games.

Mack is now shining as a freshman at Butler University, while returning veterans like Ashford and Richardson are determined to keep Bryan Station among the state's elite.

"We always knew we had it in us," Ashford said. "People were doubting us, so we knew we had to go out and prove ourselves."

Richardson said he thinks the Defenders "can still play with anybody in the state."

Henry Clay Coach Daniel Brown thought his team's inexperience showed when the game got tight.

"But we'll take a lot of positives out of this," he said. "It was a lot better than the blowouts the last few years."

Bryan Station beat the Devils three times last year, by 35, 33 and 32 points.

Prince Stewart, Henry Clay's lone senior veteran, had 21 points, including 9-for-10 at the foul line, and six rebounds Tuesday night.

Sophomore Marquel Johnson had 17 points, including five three-pointers, and sophomore Brandon Wilder added 13 points and six rebounds.

Henry Clay, which upset No. 12 Male in its season opener, hit 10 of 26 threes, but shot only 36 percent overall in falling to the Defenders again.

"To get nine wins in a row over a program like Henry Clay's is unbelievable," Ligon said.

And partly attributable to his halftime "conversation."

BRYAN STATION (2-0) — Ashford 18, Richardson 19, Morones 13, Mabson 13, Adams 6, Fain 2.

HENRY CLAY (1-1) — P. Stewart 21, Wilder 13, Johnson 17, T. Stewart 2, Keisling 7, Barnes 4, Tilford 2.

Bryan Station 8 15 20 28—71

Henry Clay 20 13 18 15—66