John Hardin coach Jared McCurry has found a new level of patience.
“I’m more patient because I’m coaching a third-grade girls team, too,” he said. “They’ve taught me to be patient. It’s carried over. I am a little bit more patient.”
He wasn’t so much in the first half Tuesday evening as his Bulldogs welcomes Bryan Station.
“I told them we were terrible defensively,” McCurry said. “We didn’t rebound very well in the first half. We didn’t play very smart. We did the opposite of what we said before the game — helping from the corner and giving them wide open shots, because we knew that’s what they liked to do. We gave up some open shots and gave them some confidence.”
John Hardin exited the locker room for the second half a little different.
It outscored the visitors, 51-27 in the second half en route to a 93-63 victory.
“We came out with a lot more energy and a lot more effort,” Bulldogs senior forward Alex Matthews said. “We pressed immediately. We were getting steals and deflections and easy layups and that got us all going.”
Matthews finished with a game-high 30 points and scored in a variety of ways. He also blocked a shot so hard that it hit the wall behind the basket about 25 feet up.
While the Bulldogs have the big three in Matthews, Trevon Harris and Preston Murrell — and sophomore guard Devon Rogers — there are a lot of players earning meaningful varsity minutes for the first time.
“I’m doing a lot more stopping and coaching in practice than I did the last couple of years,” McCurry said. “I hate doing it, but I have to every time just so they know. I was hoping we were a little bit ahead of what we showed tonight. But, it will come. We’re fitting in some new pieces.
“You can do it in practice and look good in practice, but the game is different. Lights are on. The crowd. The other team’s better than what they’re going against in practice. It’s gonna take some time. Jachai (Walker) and Aaron Scott were two of the smartest players I ever had. You tell them one time and they knew it and did it.
“They had some experience and played in some really big games. Devon is a really smart player. Te (Stone) is gonna learn, Darius (Williams) and Jalen Tyus, the guys off the bench, the more they play, the better they’ll get mentally.”
The Bulldogs held a 26-14 lead after eight minutes, but Bryan Stadium came back with a 22-16 edge in the second period to trail by six at halftime.
“Me, Preston and Tre try to get everybody going from the beginning,” Matthews said. “This game we had a really slow start. Nobody came out full speed. We all know what coach expects of us. He expects nothing but perfection. Everybody messes up. I had more turnovers than I wanted. We all missed shots. We all took bad shots where we could have made the extra pass and gotten a better shot.
“We all know we have to go to practice tomorrow and fix what we did today.”
John Hardin outscored the Defenders, 24-14 in the third period.
“We’re happy about that (the win by 30), but we have a lot of things to work on,” McCurry said.
Harris added 22 points, Murrell 14 and Tyus nine.
Bryan Station’s JMarious Lindsay had 19 points in the first half and didn’t score in the second half.
John Hardin (1-0) plays University Heights at 11 p.m. Friday at the Marshall County Hoopfest.
It takes on Christian County at 4 p.m. Saturday at Central Hardin in the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame Classic.
JOHN HARDIN 93, BRYAN STATION 63
Bryan Station 14 22 14 13–63
BRYAN STATION: JM. Lindsay 19, Ja. Lindsay 13, Pondexter 9, Yocum 8, Riley 4, Frere 2, Newsome 4, Morones 4,
JOHN HARDIN: Matthews 30, Harris 22, Murrell 14, Tyus 9, Togers 6, Stone 5, Williams 4, Montgomery 2, Kinnaird 2.