Madison Southern boys Coach Austin Newton and Berea Coach Eric Swords expected a physical game in the first round of the 44th District Tournament held at Eastern Kentucky University. And that’s exactly what they got as the teams shot a combined 66 free throws, with the Eagles prevailing 64-50 Monday night.
“It was a grinder,” Newton said. “The refs were calling it closely and we didn’t adjust to the whistle very well. There were 57 fouls called and we could never get into a flow, offensively.”
Swords said the game was won on the foul line where Southern (16-15) excelled, sinking 24 of 32 attempts (75 percent), compared to the Berea’s 19 of 34 (55.8 percent).
“I thought we played well enough to win, but we struggled from three-point range (1 of 10) and the free throw line,” Swords said.
Newton said the win was a total team effort, adding that freshman Walter Smith played some quality minutes at point guard and “took care of the balls.” Additionally, Hunter Buchanan hit some key shots that pushed Southern’s lead during the contest. Buchanan finished with 15 points. Trent Moberly added 12 points and nine rebounds.
Though the season came to an end Monday, Swords said his team has much to be proud about, including logging it’s best records (18-13) since 2001.
“I’m glad the seniors could go out feeling some success and I look forward to developing the rest of our young guys for next year,” Swords said.
Triston Duckworth paced Berea with 12 points; Jarred Whitaker added 9 points.
Southern advances to the 44th District Championship game where they will face (INSERT WINNER OF TUESDAYS GAME HERE) Friday night at 7:45 p.m. at EKU.
Lady Eagles’ hot start derails Lady Pirates
The Madison Southern Lady Eagles (15-13) used a strong first quarter performance to build a 17-3 lead and never looked back as they knocked off Berea in the first round of the 44th District girls’ tournament Monday night.
“We didn’t match their intensity early,” Berea Coach Dammian Stepp said. “We got down and the game was over by the first quarter.”
Stepp said his squad couldn’t seem to find the mark all game long, going 10 of 46 from the field, including 1 of 16 from behind the arc.
Southern Coach Summer Simmons said the Lady Eagles executed the game plan to near perfection.
“I thought our energy, focus and will were what won us the game,” she said. “Our defensive strategy was similar to our meeting in the regular season because we knew we needed to limit (Mati) Stepp’s touches.”
Limiting Mati Stepp’s touches, coupled with keeping Berea’s Adrienne Beggs off the glass paid dividends as Stepp was held to 10 points, while Beggs was limited to 7 points and 9 rebounds.
“I am proud of our team and the girls are excited to get the chance to compete in the championship game,” Simmons added.
Samantha Cornelison led Southern with 20 points. Sunni Walters added 7 points, while Aleigh Richardson finished with 10 rebounds.
Berea finished its season with a 22-9 mark.