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The Marion County Knights varsity basketball team traveled to Central Hardin High School to take on the Bardstown Tigers in the semifinals of the regional tournament Monday of last week.
Despite a major comeback in the second half, the Knights fell short by three points, losing the contest 63-60.
The game started out the way the Knights wanted it to as they jumped out to a 10-3 lead in the opening frame. However, the Tigers would reel off the final nine points of the frame to retake the lead. Four Knights scored in the opening period, led by senior John Southall with four points.
Bardstown opened up the second period with a 13-6 run to take a 25-16 lead with 3:33 remaining until halftime. Buckets by Southall, and sophomores Clay Lanham and Latrelle Irvin in the final three minutes of the half would keep the Knights in the game. The Knights would trail 30-22 heading into the locker room.
The Tigers would once again open the third quarter strongly. The Tigers hit four three pointers within the first four and a half minutes of the frame to open up a 44-26 lead on the Knights, with 3:21 showing on the clock. Marion County rallied back and ended the period on a 7-2 run to cut into the Bardstown lead. After Southall nailed three free throws with less than a minute remaining, the Knights ended the period trailing 46-33.
The Tigers expanded their lead to 51-35 early in the fourth quarter, before the Knights began to claw their way back into the game. The comeback effort began with a pair of free throws each by Southall and senior Patrick Gribbins three minutes into the frame. Marion County would connect on 14 free throws over the final six minutes, but would come no closer than two points of Bardstown. A last ditch three-point shot by Southall would come up short, and the Knights season would end with a 63-60 loss.
"Not only do I feel we reached our potential, we went beyond it," Head Coach Montrelle Irvin said.
Irvin also noted that a couple of things doomed the Knights in their comeback efforts.
"Bardstown started hitting three-pointers in the third quarter (the Tigers made nine three-pointers in the game), and we once again struggled at the free throw line, as we seem to have all year," he said. "We knew we had one last run, and we made the best of it. We had to defend their three-point shooting, and we did that down the stretch."
Irvin said that next year's team will build on what the three seniors have done this year.
"We will continue the success that the senior's started this year," he said. "We will contend not only for the district title again, but will reach for the regional title."
The Knights will lose three seniors, John Southall, Carlos Litsey, and Patrick Gribbins.
Marion Co. 10 12 11 27 - 60
Bardstown 12 18 16 17 - 63
Marion County (20-12): John Southall 22, Latrelle Irvin 13, Carlos Litsey 10, Clay Lanham 6, Vincent Collins 4, Alex Smith 3, Patrick Gribbins 2
Bardstown (25-9): Devonte Grundy 17, Anthony Myrks 14, Marcus Cosby 12, Cody Ramos 10, Jordan Brewer 6, Drew Stark 2, Justin Hubbard 2