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If Bryce Garris felt a little bit like Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day, the Meade County senior guard can expect to see a lot more of his shadow tonight.
In Tuesday’s second semifinal of the Boys’ 11th District Basketball Tournament in Lewisport, third-seeded Hancock County used a box-and-chaser to keep Garris in check.
It worked to a degree as Garris was limited to just 10 field-goal attempts – more than four fewer than his average.
“I wasn’t really frustrated,” Garris said after Wednesday’s practice. “Going in, I knew they were going to do and I knew I wasn’t going to get that many shots, so I wasn’t really worried about it.”
With Garris occupied, the second-seeded Green Wave (10-19) needed someone else to come through in the clutch.
Sophomore guard John Wilson and junior guard Zeb Wilson delivered down the stretch. John Wilson hit two of his three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and Zeb Wilson scored the game-winning bucket with 19 seconds left as Meade County won, 48-47.
“John came through big for us. I don’t think he’s made three 3s all year, but he hit two big 3s to get us the lead. That was a big momentum changer for us,” Garris said. “And Zeb had those two big plays in the end that helped us win.”
If the Green Wave hope to knock off top-seeded Breckinridge County Fighting Tigers (20-7) at 8 tonight, Garris said they’ll need someone to step up – especially if they try and emulate what the Hornets did.
“Breck more than likely will do the same thing,” Garris said. “If they’re going to do a box-and-chaser, we’re going to need everyone to step up. Everybody has to step up and make the open shots and not miss the easy ones like we did last night. If that happens, we’ll probably win.”
Longtime Meade County coach Jerry Garris said his team should expect anything and everything from the Fighting Tigers, who swept the regular-season series.
“If I’m Breck, maybe I’m thinking we beat them both times and we don’t have to do anything different,” he said. “At the same time, I’m thinking Hancock did a good job with the box-and-chaser. So we might see some of the same things.”
Regardless of what defense Breckinridge County utilizes, Jerry Garris said it’s important for other players to help shoulder the scoring load.
When that’s happened, he said the Green Wave have played better. When it doesn’t, well, the outcome hasn’t been very pretty.
“When Bryce has got help, when we can get someone else to score, we can be competitive,” Jerry Garris said. “He was patient last night and got some open shots. You’ve got to have somebody step up. Last night, John made a couple at the right time. But we missed a bundle we should’ve made.
“We were fortunate,” he added. “We kept plugging, and that’s what I liked about it. We could have hung our heads after getting down by six, but we kept plugging along on defense and we finally got to the boards in the second half. But if we make some shots early, it’s a different game.”
While he isn’t sure what Breckinridge County coach Patrick Critchelow has up his sleeves, Jerry Garris knows fans can expect another intense game between the rivals.
“I’m tickled with where we are,” Garris said. “You can call it luck or fortune or whatever, but I’m tickled to still be playing. We kept telling them they could make a pretty good season out of a good week in the district. Getting to region is definitely a plus.
“Friday is a free game for us,” he added. “We don’t have any pressure on us. All the pressure is on Breck now. We weren’t picked to win the district any way, so it’s all on them. We’ll just go play and play loose, and see what happens.”
Josh Claywellcan be reached at (270) 505-1752 or email@example.com.