After defeating the Jackson County Generals 76-59 on the road Tuesday night, the Barbourville Tigers advanced to the 13th Region All “A” Classic championship against the Harlan Green Dragons, to be played on January 16.
Matthew Warren led the Tigers in scoring with 31 points, on 11-of-15 shooting, including a 5-of-9 mark from beyond the arc. He was followed by Matthew Gray with 15 points, Dylan Moore with 12 points, Travis Scott with 10 points, David Collett with three points, Tanner Smith with three points, and Jacob Lundy with two points.
Barbourville coach Cody Messer highlighted his team’s growth through four games. He also highlighted the diversity in his team’s scoring, with this being the second game in which at least four players scored in double-digits.
“I can’t stress enough how much this team has grown,” he said. “I know we’ve only played four games, but what I’ve seen from our first game through this one, we’ve grown a ton since then. We struggled a lot in that first game, but it wasn’t anything a trash can practice couldn’t fix. Since then, we’ve shot very well from the free throw line, played better as a team, and have just been more energetic all around. This is the second game in a row that we’ve had four guys scoring in double-digits, and that goes to show how well we are moving and sharing the ball.”
“I’m really proud of Matthew Warren,” he added. “I’m very happy for him. He’s a guy that comes in and works his tail off; he’s a gym rat. Early to practice, late after practice -- it doesn’t matter, he always wants to be in the gym. It’s nice to see him coming out of his shell a little bit. We all knew he had the ability. He hadn’t had a lot of shots falling from the outside, but he hit five threes for us in this one. I thought Matthew Gray did a great job for us again. He’s doing a great job of being a leader and being very vocal. Dylan had another good game for us. We’ve got to keep getting big minutes out of him.”
“Travis Scott is another guy that I’ve been very pleased with. We’ve been without Jordan since the first game, and Travis has done a good job of stepping in and filling some big minutes. He’s another guy that’s going to come out and give you everything he’s got every night. I’m really proud of my young guys for how quickly they are adjusting to the speed of the game, and you can partially credit my older guys for being great leaders.”
In finality, Messer stated that he has been very impressed with his team’s vocalness on the defensive side of the ball.
“I love how loud we are on defense,” he said. “It roars in the gym. With it being limited attendance, it’s even louder. These guys will be denying, trapping and defending the ball and communicating every move with one another. It’s really helping us find a defensive rhythm, and that’s exactly what we want. That’s how I coach, and that’s how I teach; hard-nosed, vocal defense. I’m very pleased with how we’ve been doing, but we can still improve in a few areas. We’re getting there.”
With the victory over Jackson County, the Tigers improved to 2-2 on the season.