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By JOSH CLAYWELL firstname.lastname@example.org
STEPHENSBURG — With his team leading by nine points over Bluegrass Middle School, Brian Long took over for the Scott Middle School seventh-grade boys’ basketball team.
Long scored six consecutive points midway through the third quarter and the Bulldogs rode the momentum to a 52-33 victory over the Colts in the championship of the Middle School Athletic Conference at West Hardin.
Long, a forward, led all scorers with 23 points as Scott wrapped up a perfect season at 17-0.
“Brian had three fouls on him, and a few others had three fouls, so I was a little worried about the foul trouble,” Scott coach Don Mullins said. “But his play was tremendous for us. He controlled the boards against them.”
Scott led 26-17 with about 4 minutes to go in the third quarter before Long went on his run.
He hit two free throws with 3:33 left, and then scored consecutive layups off assists from point guard Nick McDonald.
“I’d like to thank my guards for getting me the ball down low,” Long said. “We kept having to bring the ball around (the key) and look for an open spot.”
Most times, it was Long, who scored 14 of his points after halftime, in that spot.
“He was so dominant inside,” said McDonald, who finished with 13 points. “He got rebounds for us and they kept trying to foul him.”
Long did his part at the line, hitting 7-of-13 shots. He was 4-of-6 in the second half to help the Bulldogs pull away.
“He’s a tough kid,” Mullins said. “He’s got long arms and he’s got really good hands. He gets a lot of rebounds for us.”
Scott led 11-8 at the end of the first quarter, scoring the final five points of the period.
The Bulldogs stretched the lead to 16-8 with 2:47 left before intermission and extended it to 22-9 with 1:37 left.
The Colts then scored on consecutive possessions and forced Scott into three consecutive turnovers before McDonald drained a jumper to give the Bulldogs a 24-13 halftime lead.
Bluegrass sliced the lead to 26-17 early in the third quarter before Long’s run. Including Long’s points, Scott went on a 12-5 run for a 36-20 lead with 1:14 left in the period.
“The difference was our defense. We made them come out of their offense and made them do things they didn’t want to do,” Mullins said. “When we extended the lead, they made bad passes and we got on a roll.”
Scott led 37-24 going to the fourth quarter and stretched its lead to 40-26 as Long hit two free throws with 3:35 left.
Bluegrass cut the lead to 11 on a long 3-pointer by guard Patrick Anderson, but that was as close as the Colts would get the rest of the way. Following a jumper by guard Elijiah Smith, Bluegrass went cold over the next 2 minutes until forward Marcos Quiros hit a layup with less than a minute left.
SCOTT 52, BLUEGRASS 33 Bluegrass 8 5 11 9—33 Scott 11 13 13 15—52 Scott (52)
Brian Long 23, Nick McDonald 13, Conner Bailey 7, Kelsey Thomas 4, Dimitri Cooper 4, Danny Angelo 1.
Patrick Anderson 10, Khalil Frazier 7, Chris Kerulis 5, Chris Smith 4, Austin Laing 3, Elijiah Smith 2, Marcos Quiros 2.
Josh Claywell can be reached at 505-1752