Adair County stepped onto the court Wednesday night in Hart County against a tough 5th Region opponent in Elizabethtown. Despite being outsized, the Indians went to battle with the Panthers but came away just short down the stretch and lost 56-47.
“Elizabethtown may not be the best team in the state but you can go anywhere in the state and you won’t find any guards quicker or stronger than theirs,” Coach Deron Breeze said. “It showed us where we need to get to defeat them and we showed we can compete, but now have to defeat them.”
“We knew coming into the game transition defense was the biggest factor. They literally score 30-40 or sometimes 50 points in transition per game and we did a good job limiting that. We felt if we could keep it in single digits we would win the game. I think we had a couple mental lapses where our gameplan was we weren’t sending anyone to the offense glass and we was just getting back in transition defense. We did that successful for most of the night but a couple times when we didn’t, they made us pay. I counted at least 16 points in transition against us, those were huge if we could have cut it in half.”
Connor Loy controlled the offense for Adair County in the first quarter by scoring nine of their 10 points with the Indians trailing 14-10 after the quarter. During the second quarter, just when it seemed the Panthers might pull away with their defensive pressure and inside scoring, Adair County would continue to fight back. The Indians took the lead for the first time since the beginning of the first quarter at 24-23 late in the second quarter before a basket by Elizabethtown gave them a slight 25-24 advantage at the half.
Elizabethtown stretched out their lead to the largest of the game by opening the second half with a 15-0 run before Blane Bardin connected on a three pointer for the Indians first points of the half almost six minutes into the quarter. Bardin scored six of the Indians eight points in the third quarter as the Panthers led 44-32 into the fourth quarter of play.
The Panthers slowed the pace down in the fourth quarter while Adair County continued to fight and try to climb their way back into the game. Brayton Coomer found the scoring hand during the quarter with eight of his 12 points and helped to give the Indians a chance down the stretch. Adair County pulled as close as two points late in the game at 46-44 but couldn’t come up with the basket or big play they needed to get over the hump.
“Their physical strength of their guards presented problems for us being able to get ball reversals and run good offense,” Coach Breeze said. “We weren’t able to match their physicality in that nature and they was able to take us out of our offense. We was able to get successful drives off the dribble but they really limited our ability to pass the basketball by not allowing their man to be open.”
It was a great battle for the young Indians team as they finished the season with a 23-10 record but lost back-to-back games at the end in the district finals and at the 5th Region tournament. Loy and Coomer scored 30 of the teams points on Wednesday night with 18 and 12, respectively. Bardin ended with six, Carter White five, and Lane Grant had four, while Coomer also added eight rebounds to his night.
“We competed, we played well, and we had a chance to win at the end of the game against the region favorite,” Coach Breeze said. “We were undersized but we competed on the backboards and only had eight turnovers.”
Elizabethtown will advance to the semifinals on Sunday against Bardstown who squeaked out a 55-53 win against Green County in the opening game of the tournament.