By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
The Patriots in their best performance of the young season Saturday, soundly defeated Bourbon County 76-56 in the Berea Holiday Classic.
Model Laboratory got 21 points from Zack Rice-Gordon in his best game of the season and 17 points from Ephraim Otieno in the victory.
After two subpar performances in the Holiday Classic, including a 54-40 win over Owsley County earlier in the day, the Patriots came out dialed in on both defense and offense.
The Patriots led 37-22 at the half, then carved up the Bourbon County defense in the second half, building their lead to as many as 24 points.
“This morning was probably the worst we’ve played all year and tonight was the best we’ve played all year, so I’m really proud of them,” Model coach Wes Scarberry said. “They really rose to the challenge of playing three games in 24 hours. We challenged them after this morning’s game to really play defensively and to be coachable. And they did that. They were as good as they’ve been all year.”
With the win, the Patriots move into the consolation bracket championship. They will face either Eminence or Webster County at 8 p.m. today at the old gym at Berea Community.
Model trailed in the game only once at 5-4. From that point, Models used precision passing to slice the Colonels defense apart, rushing out to a 22-15 lead after the first quarter.
Rice-Gordon extended the lead to 10 at 25-15 with a three to open the second quarter, then the Patriots extended their lead to 37-22 at the half behind strong inside play from Caleb Kincaid and Alex Chen who dominated the paint all night.
Jared Adams jump-started a 9-0 Model run mid-way through the third quarter to break the game open.
In the fourth quarter, Kincaid was unstoppable in the middle, putting in eight points, which opened driving lanes to the basket for Otieno, Keith Mason and Jared Adams and Model cruised the rest of the way.
Kincaid finished with 13 points on the night, while Adams and Mason had eight points each, Chen added six points and Levi Agee had two points and eight assists.
In the win over Owsley County, Model trailed by a point (23-22) at halftime.
Rice-Gordon led the charge in the second half, scoring 16 of his team-best 21 points. Otieno had 11 points, Adams had nine points and Chen added eight points.
Model had a 38-35 lead after three quarters and held Owsley County without a field goal in the fourth quarter.
Southern drops a pair
Madison Southern had first-quarter leads in both its games Saturday at the Berea Holiday Classic, but wasn’t able to hold on for a win either time.
The Eagles fell to Montgomery County, 65-52, then later in the day suffered a 75-65 loss to Rockcastle County.
Against Montgomery, Southern was up 19-14 after the first quarter, but was out-scored 18-6 in the second quarter. Tanner Kidwell had 15 points, Stacy Burns had 13 points, Trevor Huff had seven points, Michael Jefferson and Andrew Miller had four points, while Devante Linville, Antonio Thrash and Branden Sargent had two points each. Griffen Gabbard had oe point.
In the loss to Rockcastle, Southern was up 12-10 after the first quarter, but was out-scored 22-13 in the second quarter.
Huff and Burns had 15 points each, Miller had 14 points, Linville had six points, Kidwell had five points, Jefferson had four points, Sargent had three points and Gabbard and Jyre Richardson had two points each.
Southern is set to take on Franklin County at 3:30 p.m. at Berea Community in the tournament finale.