The Madison Southern Eagles picked up a big 70-54 win over Harlan County in the final first round game of the Berea Holiday Classic Friday.
Behind the red-hot shooting of Stacy Burns and Tanner Kidwell and a tenacious defense, the Eagles raced out to an 18-11 lead after one quarter and didn’t let their foot off the pedal.
Burns poured in 17 first-half points on his way to a 20-point night, while Kidwell poured in 21 to lead the Eagles.
Southern led by as many as 20 points in the second quarter after back-to-back steals and layups by Tanner Kidwell with 2:03 remaining.
Harlan County got a couple of baskets late, but the Eagles headed into the locker room with a comfortable cushion at the half, up 41-25.
The third quarter was more of the same as the Eagles won the battle with the taller Black Bears on the boards, allowing them to get out on the break and get easy transition buckets.
The Eagles built their lead to as many as 25 points mid-way through the fourth quarter and cruised to the win.
“That was by far our best game of the season,” Southern coach Shane Buttry said. “We came out the aggressor to start the game and banged with them on the boards and got it out on the run quickly, then we made good decisions on the break.”
In all, 10 players scored for the Eagles. Michael Jefferson finished with eight points, Antonio Thrash had seven points, Branden Sargent had five points, Jyre Richardson had four points and Trevor Huff, Andrew Miller, Devante Linville and Blake Linville scored two points apiece.
The Eagles will take on Montgomery County at 12:30 at Berea Community.
Model 71, Jackson County 83
The Patriots (4-1) dug themselves an early hole and never could get out of it in an 83-71 loss to Jackson County Friday in the Berea Holiday Classic.
The Generals jumped out to a 42-26 halftime lead over Model Laboratory, and despite a flurry of scoring by the Patriots in the final six minutes, were never really challenged the rest of the way.
After falling behind 9-3 to open the game, the Generals went on an 8-0 run to take the lead, then outscored Model 23-4 to take a 26-13 lead after the first quarter.
The Patriots repeatedly gave up easy baskets on one end and could not get it to fall on the other despite getting the ball into the lane almost at will for most of the first half.
The inability to finish was the difference in the game.
"We got off to a bad start. Our defense wasn't as intense as it is supposed to be. We gave up a lot of easy points in transition early," Model coach Wes Scarberry said. "They didn't really start playing till they dug themselves a hole."
Model finally got a little offense going in the second half.
Consecutive baskets by Zack Rice-Gordon, Jared Adams and Ephraim Otieno got the Patriots to within 13 at 50-37 mid-way through the third quarter.
But as they did all game, the Generals had an answer, going on a quick 12-2 run to push the lead back out to 62-39.
The lead ballooned to 23 points, but four points by Adams, the second basket at the buzzer to end the third quarter, got Model back to within 20 at 68-48.
In the fourth quarter, the Patriots finally got the helter-skelter pace they wanted as their pressure defense finally began to cause Jackson County to turn the ball over and rush shots.
That fueled the Model transition game and Otieno and Keith Mason combined for 10 points, most on drives to the basket after steals.
Model inside players Caleb Kincaid and Alex Chen also began to finish around the rim and the Patriots went on a 12-4 run to get within 14 at 78-64.
But even though it was too-little too-late, Scarberry said he was happy with the way his young team responded to the adversity and didn't quit.
"The third and fourth quarter we beat them by one point. I was glad to see that. I was anxious to see what this team was made of this year and they didn't quit," he said. "They showed a lot of heart and a lot of desire. The good thing is we get to bounce back at 10 a.m. tomorrow and play again and hopefully get this taste out of our mouths.
Otieno led the way for the Patriots with 20 points —12 in the second half , while Mason (15) and Adams (12) also were in double figures. Kincaid finished with nine points, Gordon eight points and Chen had seven points.
The Patriots take on Owsley County at 10:30 a.m. today at Berea Community.