His team had missed its first 11 shots and later found itself down by nine points to heavy underdog Kentucky Country Day, but Male High School boys basketball coach Willie Feldhaus said he was certain the Bulldogs eventually would find their rhythm.
“I’m not going to say I wasn’t worried early on,” Feldhaus said. “But I still knew we would get going. We shoot the ball too well to shoot it like that forever.”
Male finally got going early in the second quarter, took a seven-point halftime lead and cruised in the second half on its way to a 74-53 victory over KCD on Wednesday in the second round of the Republic Bank Louisville Invitational Tournament at Valley.
Bellarmine University signee Alex Cook posted 19 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks to lead Male (13-2), No. 11 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings.
Corey Bowman hit 4 of 6 3-point tries and scored 16 points for Male. Cornelius Watts added 13 points and six rebounds.
J.R. Mathis (25 points) and Colin Ferguson (16 points, 10 rebounds) had big games to lead the Bearcats (8-5).
Mathis sank two free throws to give KCD a 19-10 lead with 7:12 left in the second quarter, but Male dominated the rest of the way.
The Bulldogs took the lead for good, 22-21, on Bowman’s 3-pointer with 2:58 left in the first half. In the final minute, Bowman added another 3 and Rasean McCauley made a layup to give the Bulldogs a 32-25 halftime edge.
Feldhaus said his team’s defense improved after the first quarter.
“We were gambling and getting out of position, which we really didn’t need to do,” he said. “(Mathis and Ferguson) were getting all the way to the rim on us, and we weren’t getting the help defense we needed. Once we got that turned around, it was a lot better.”
Bowman, Cook and Chase Coleman each hit a 3-pointer as Male opened the third quarter with a 13-2 run for a 45-27 lead. The Bulldogs finished 10 of 28 (35.7 percent) from 3-point range.
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
KENTUCKY COUNTRY DAY 14 11 8 20 – 53
MALE 10 22 21 21 – 74
Kentucky Country Day (8-5) – S. Mathis 7, J.R. Mathis 25, Kraus 2, Cavanaugh 3, Ferguson 16.
Male (13-2) – Bowman 16, Watts 13, Coleman 5, Williams 4, Ferrell 4, Alexander 2, Cook 19, Kimijwok 5, Brownley 2, McCauley 4.
3-point goals – J.R. Mathis 3, Cavanaugh, Ferguson 2; Bowman 4, Watts 2, Coleman, Cook 2, Kimijwok.