University of Louisville target Darius Garland scores 12 of his 23 points in key fourth quarter
One of the nation’s top sophomores, Darius Garland saved his best for the last eight minutes of Wednesday’s championship game of the Forcht Bank King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic.
The 6-foot guard scored 12 of his 23 points and also had a big assist and a key block in the fourth quarter to lead Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy to a 71-64 victory over Trinity at Fairdale High School.
“I was trying to get my teammates involved and run through the system,” said Garland, who has a scholarship offer from the University of Louisville, among several other schools. “But I just came up with some big shots and some big plays.”
Garland added four rebounds, four assists and four steals and earned Bob White MVP honors as Brentwood Academy (10-0) became the fourth out-of-state team in five years to win the King of the Bluegrass, joining Nashville (Tenn.) Christ Presbyterian (2011-12) and St. John’s of Washington, D.C. (2014).
Brentwood Academy returned all five starters from last year’s squad that won Tennessee’s Division II, Class AA, though 6-foot-5 sophomore starter Gavin Schoenwald missed this tournament with an injury.
“I honestly had no idea we’d win this tournament,” Eagles coach Hubie Smith said. “I look at our bracket and go, ‘Our bracket is loaded.’ I learned a lot about our team this week. It’s good.”
Jeremiah Oatsvall hit 3 of 4 3-point tries and finished with 19 points for the Eagles. Parker Suedekum added 11 points.
Jacob King scored 22 points to pace Trinity (9-1), which led for the majority of the game until Garland took over.
“In the second half we just had too many defensive breakdowns,” Shamrocks coach Mike Szabo said.
King scored five straight points – a 3-pointer and a layup – to give Trinity a 56-48 lead with 5:48 remaining before Garland hit back-to-back 3-pointers to pull the Eagles within 56-54.
Garland’s 3-pointer at the 3:30 mark gave Brentwood Academy its first lead, 61-60, since the second quarter.
“Any time somebody gets loose, that shouldn’t happen,” Szabo said.
King nailed two free throws to give Trinity a 62-61 lead with 2:39 left, but Tyler McNair – son of former NFL quarterback Steve McNair – made a layup off an assist from Garland to give the Eagles the lead for good, 63-62, with 2:25 left.
Garland blocked a shot by King on Trinity’s next possession, and Suedekum sank two free throws for a 65-62 lead with 2:07 left.
Lukas Burkman missed a 3-point try with 1:38 left, and the Eagles pulled away from there. Smith said his team’s depth played a factor in the fourth quarter.
“We felt like we had more depth than they did, and we played our bench a lot more tonight because of that,” Smith said. “I think it helped because they missed some shots short late that they hadn’t missed all week long. They’re a terrific shooting team.”
Szabo’s young squad fell one victory short of its first KOB title since 2009, but the coach left the tournament encouraged.
“I think they learned they can compete with anybody, and they expect to win,” he said.
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and email@example.com.
* All-tournament team – Darius Garland, Jeremiah Oatsvall, Garrett Suedekum (Brentwood Academy); Jacob King, Gabe Schmitt (Trinity); Jared Farris, Tyler Sharpe (Bullitt East); Tony Jackson (North Hardin); Carson Williams (Owen County); Taveion Hollingsworth, Darius Williams (Paul Dunbar); Jamil Wilson (Ballard); David Sloan, Quentin Goodin (Taylor County); Nojel Eastern (Evanston Township).
* Bob White MVP – Darius Garland (Brentwood Academy).
All-tournament team – Darius Garland, Jeremiah Oatsvall, Garrett Suedekum (Brentwood Academy); Jacob King, Gabe Schmitt (Trinity); Jared Farris, Tyler Sharpe (Bullitt East); Tony Jackson (North Hardin); Carson Williams (Owen County); Taveion Hollingsworth, Darius Williams (Paul Dunbar); Jamil Wilson (Ballard); David Sloan, Quentin Goodin (Taylor County); Nojel Eastern (Evanston Township).
Bob White MVP – Darius Garland (Brentwood Academy).
Brentwood Academy (10-0): P. Suedekum 11, Garland 23, G. Suedekum 8, Oatsvall 19, Johnson 4, McNair 4, Mathews 2.
Trinity (9-1): King 22, Burton 8, Schmitt 9, Harris 14, Terry 2, Burkman 9.
3-point goals: P. Suedekum, Garland 5, Oatsvall 3; King 3, Schmitt 2, Burkman.