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BOYS' 18TH DISTRICT: LaRue County claims first title in five years (03/01)

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By Greg Crews

 

By GREG CREWS gcrews@thenewsenterprise.com MUNFORDVILLE — Six years after last getting to cut down the nets, the LaRue County Hawks were back atop the ladder and the 18th District. A third-quarter explosion put the Hawks in the driver’s seat and free throws sealed a 59-49 win over the Green County Dragons in the district championship game Friday night at Hart County High School. It was the first district title for LaRue County since 2003 — and it was worth the wait. “This is my first time in four years. Nothing else feels like it, it’s amazing,” senior forward Tyler Hornback said. “We put in so much hard work and dedication to this team. … It feels great to come out on top.” The third time was a charm for LaRue County, which had lost back-to-back district finals, and its seniors made sure of it. Hornback paced LaRue County (23-5) with 16 points and eight rebounds, while senior guard Christian Seymour had 13 points and senior post Bryan Bault added 11 points and eight rebounds. “We wanted it bad. We’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Seymour said. “We played like we wanted to play tonight.” After rallying in the second quarter, the Dragons led 27-24 at halftime. In the third quarter, however, it was the Hawks’ turn to make a run, opening the period with a 15-0 blitz as they went out to a 39-27 lead and never looked back. “We always come back strong in the second half,” Seymour said. “I don’t know if we have extra energy or what but we have been doing it all season long.” And it didn’t hurt that the Dragons (13-15) were ice cold from beyond the 3-point arc. Senior guard Stanton Shively, who paced Green County with 15 points, ended the Hawks’ third-quarter run with a 3-pointer from the top of the key, also ending an 0-for-9 drought from beyond the arc for the Dragons. They finished just 2-of-17 from long range (11.8 percent). “Our defense did force some things,” LaRue County coach Paul Childress said. “We forced some turnovers in the second half especially and we were able to take better care of the ball.” Heading into the fourth quarter, LaRue County led 45-36. Green County would get no closer than that as the Hawks hit 7-of-9 free throws to start the period and allowed just five points the final 2 minutes as they held the Dragons at bay. “We went through some spurts tonight,” Hornback said. “First quarter, I thought we came out and played real good. Second quarter we kind of splashed down a little bit. After halftime we got pumped back up and got back on our game.” The Hawks trailed 4-0 barely more than a minute into the game but took the lead behind 3-pointers from Seymour and freshman forward Jordan Brewer, who finished with nine points. By the end of the first quarter LaRue County had built a 17-12 lead before a 14-4 run put the Dragons back out front. “I thought in the second quarter we got a bit disorganized and started standing around a lot and forced some shots,” Childress said. “We really emphasized coming out in that third quarter, executing our offense and getting some higher percentage shots. And we did.” Seymour tied the game and sparked the third-quarter run with a 3-pointer from the left wing 15 seconds into the half. Freshman guard Anthony Brewer, who had 10 points, scored five during the run and Hornback added four free throws. LaRue County moves on to this week’s eight-team 5th Region Tournament at Marion County High School. The Hawks have made first-round exits from the tournament the past two years. LaRue County’s last win in the tournament came in 2002, but the Hawks could be poised to do it again as they will face a district runner-up in the first round. Drawing for the tournament will be held today at Marion County. “I don’t know if I would say we are going to be a favorite, but we will go in as a district winner,” Childress said. “It’s going to be a tough game whoever we draw.” Greg Crews can be reached at 505-1754