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Bearcats too hot for Rockets

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They shoot 72.5 percent to end Shelby’s season

By Josh Cook

The Shelby County boys’ basketball team’s season – which was marked by overall improvement – came to a disheartening ending Tuesday night.

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Top-seeded Anderson County routed the Rockets, 77-37, in the 30th District Tournament semifinals at Collins.

The Bearcats (21-3) shot a blistering 72.5 percent and got 36 points (27 in the first half) from sophomore guard Austin Cummins as they avenged an earlier loss to Shelby County.

“It’s a shame because this is such a bad taste,” first-year Shelby County Coach Jason Couch said after his team’s most-lopsided loss of the season. “It feels like a lot of the work we’ve done this season has been wiped away. If you look at the body work, we’ve progressed, but it just felt like the guys reverted back to their old ways at times.”

The Rockets (10-18) won as many games this season as they did combined in their previous two. They went 4-24 in 2010-11 and 6-25 in 2011-12.

Shelby County’s first victory this season was a 67-65 triumph at Anderson County. In that game the Rockets fell behind by 18 points in the first half before rallying.

This time around Shelby County trailed by just four points (22-18) 10 minutes into the game before the Bearcats closed the first half with a 25-5 flourish.

“I’ve coached in games at every level of the State Tournament, except the state championship game, and in every one of those games, there’s a bad stretch,” Couch said. “I told them that before the game and I told them, ‘You just have to find a way to get stops and fight through it when that happens.’

“But when it happened we just didn’t fight through it. It’s not that we didn’t play hard, we just didn’t fight, we just settled.”

Cummins, who didn’t start and didn’t score in the first game against the Rockets, tallied 19 points in Anderson’s game-deciding surge. He hit five 3-pointers during a 3-minute, 38-second stretch for the Bearcats, who play Collins at 7:45 tonight in the 30th District final.

“We had people on him who we thought were capable of containing him, and there were multiple guys who tried,” Couch said.

Cummins finished the first half with 27 points – four more than the Rockets, who trailed, 47-23 – thanks in large part to his 7-of-8 shooting from long range.

“I felt like we’d compete a whole lot better than we did,” Couch said.

Shelby County fell behind, 5-0, and trailed by eight (20-12) at the end of the first quarter before the Rockets hit three of the first four field goals of the second period. Kyler Dugle’s putback pulled them to within 22-18 with 6:11 left in the first half.

Thirty-three seconds later, though, Cummins connected on his third 3-pointer of the game, beginning the Bearcats’ blitz. 

“In the second quarter they did whatever they wanted to do,” Couch said.

Shelby County went nearly six minutes without a basket in the second period and didn’t help itself any by only going 3-for-7 from the free-throw line.

“I thought our inexperience in this type of atmosphere really hurt us,” Couch said. “We showed immaturity and inexperience.”

Anderson County used a 12-2 run in the third quarter to extend its lead to 35 – creating a running clock via the Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s “mercy” rule.

“They weren’t going to let us comeback this time,” Couch said.

The Bearcats, who also received 16 points from senior guard Jay Smith, made 29 of 40 shots from the field, including 11 of 15 from 3-point range.

The Rockets, who had 13 field goals (one more than Cummins), were 9-for-23 (39.1 percent) from the free throw line.

“You can’t be in a game against Anderson County and miss that many free throws. You can’t miss that many shots,” Couch said. “We didn’t get many second shots, and that hurt us because we really made a living on the offensive glass [this season].”

Junior guard Kipp Moore scored 15 points for Shelby County. Meanwhile Michael Barry, the Rockets’ leading scorer, put up three points. He hit Shelby County’s first basket of the game, but finished just 1-for-4 from the field.

“I felt like I was watching tape of last year,” Couch said. “Once they [Anderson] started going, that’s what we did. We just kind of reverted back to our old ways.…We’d just come down and shoot it.”