Boys' basketball | Eastern edges Christian Academy in 28th District

Eastern won a basketball shootout with Christian Academy on Feb. 13, but the Eagles had to resort to a different type of game to defeat the host Centurions 61-55 and eliminate them from the boys’ 28th District Tournament on Tuesday night.

Guards Austin Howard scored 23 points and Bryce Walker-Byrd 11. Cameron Reed also tallied 11 points in the semifinal that was completely different from the 84-81 overtime game Eastern won from over CAL nearly two weeks ago.

“In our first game with CAL, they hit 10 of 18 3-point shots,” Eastern coach David Henley said after his Eagles (20-7) set up a district final with rival Ballard (26-5) at 7 p.m. Friday at CAL. The Bruins, the No. 1-ranked team in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings, shot out to a 21-0 lead and zipped past Kentucky Country Day 93-43 in the other semifinal.

Both Eastern and Ballard, last year’s state tournament runner-up, will advance to next week’s Seventh Region Tournament, regardless of which team wins the district.

“What we focused on the last four days was getting out on their 3-point shooters,” Henley said. CAL (11-16) made only three 3-pointers this time.

With 6-foot-7 junior Trey Moses hampered by foul trouble, Howard took charge and scored 11 points in the second half, hitting 8 of 11 free throws.

“Austin has been so good in the clutch at the free-throw line,” Henley said. “He’s had a great year. He’s made some big free throws for us.”

“We had to fight to win that first game with CAL,” Howard said. “Tonight, we held our composure and played defense. Not a lot of defense was played in that first game.”

Eastern opened a 48-37 lead after Sugar Ray Wyche hit a three and Howard sank two foul shots early in the fourth quarter, but CAL wasn’t finished. Tony Colley made a three-point play to start a rally. D. J. Scott swished a three and Colton Talley hit two free throws, and CAL only trailed 53-48 with 2:14 remaining.

Reed hit a 17-foot shot for a 55-48 margin. Howard took over after that. Fouled twice going to the basket, Howard sank 3 of 4 free throws to make it 58-51 with 30.7 seconds left, after CAL had closed to 55-51.

“They were stalling and their guards made good decisions,” CAL coach Casey Smallwood said. “They were tough to defend and forced us to foul and start trapping.”

Scott led a balanced CAL offense with 18 points. Colley tallied 16 and Talley 11.

“We shot the ball significantly better in the first game against Eastern than we did tonight,” Smallwood said. “That was our biggest downfall. Both teams struggled shooting the ball.”

Eastern had a 13-16 record last season, its first under Henley, who coached Covington Holes to the state championship in 2009.

The Eagles lost to Ballard 94-72 on Feb. 8. “It’s a great opportunity to play the best team in the state and show our toughness,” Howard said about the rematch.

Quentin Snider, Ballard’s All-State point guard, headed for the University of Louisville, only scored seven points, but the Bruins showed they have plenty of depth.* Ballard 93, KCD 43:

Corey Douglas, a 6-foot-6 junior who missed six weeks of the season with a stress fracture in his right foot, scored 13 points — all in the first half. Rijad Kovacevic came off the bench and hit four 3-pointers and scored 14 points.

“Corey’s still not 100 percent and won’t be this season,” Ballard coach Chris Renner said.

Anthoy Mathis’ 12 points were high for KCD. Colin Ferguson had 10 points. Malyiek McCray, a 6-3 junior and son of ex-U of L star Scooter McCray, scored nine

for the Bearcats – all in the first half.

Ballard 26 26 21 20 93
KCD 2 21 12 8 43

– Martin 24, Snider 7, Douglas 13, Kovacevic 14, Robinson 12, J. Ramsey 8, Perry 7, Berry 5, Dow 1, Wilson 2.Ballard (26-5)

– Mathis 12, Ferguson 10, McCray 9, Lyles 6, Alford 3, Cavanaugh 2, Green 1.Kentucky Country Day (17-11)

– Kovacevic 4, Martin 2, Perry; Mathis 2, Ferguson, Lyles, Alford.3-point goals

Eastern 20 13 9 19 61
Christian Academy 13 11 10 21 55

– Howard 23, Reed 11, Walker-Byrd 11, Wyche 7, Cambron 5, Moses 2, Lane 2.Eastern (20-7)

– Scott 18, Colley 16, Talley 11, Rehm 5, Duff 3, Frist 2.Christian Academy (11-16)

– Reed 2, Howard, Wyche, Walker-Byrd; Talley, Colley.3-point goals

More News