By JAMES BROWN
After a one-year hiatus, Monroe County is again the Boys’ 15th District Tournament champion. It took two overtimes and a couple of big shots and big plays for the Falcons to reclaim the title from the Barren County Trojans, 73-68.
In the second overtime, Chandler Clements hit a 3-pointer with 3:14 left in the period. A minute later, Tucker Kirkpatrick nailed a contested 3 to give Monroe a 61-55 lead. The Falcons (17-12) over the next minute turned a steal and two defensive rebounds into transition scores – two layups and a foul shot – that pushed their lead to 66-55 with 1:06 left.
“Chandler Clements was big for us tonight. Tyrek Mink hit a big shot in the corner. Tucker Kirkpatrick made a big 3 in the (second) overtime. It’s just a great team effort,” Monroe County coach Steve Kirkpatrick said.
“It was a good game against a good team and they made a couple more plays than we did,” Barren County coach Warren Cunningham said. “Sure wish we would have hit some more free throws.”
Barren (17-15) hit only 5 of 11 foul shots in the game. One of the misses came with 10.5 seconds left in the first overtime, which if made would have put the Trojans ahead by one. Instead, when Monroe’s Billy Michael Dyer was called for a charge with 8-tenths of a second left in the period, the game was tied 55-all and headed to a second overtime.
Earlier in the first overtime, the Trojans pulled ahead 50-48 on a 3-pointer by Jared Coomer. Parker Stephens added a basket with 2:21 left in the period and Barren led 52-48.
“We probably had a chance there to put them away, but we fouled Dyer shooting a 3. He hit four out of five free throws on the next two possessions,” Cunningham said.
The two free throws Monroe’s leading scorer made with 1:05 left in the period tied the game at 52-all.
Coomer responded for Barren by hitting a pair of foul shots with 47 seconds left in the first overtime.
Not to be outdone, Ty Mink buried a 3 from the left corner with 35.4 seconds to play in the first extra period. That set up Will Bandy, who made one of two free throws for Barren with 10.5 seconds left in the period, which eventually sent the game to the second overtime tied at 55.
“We want all the kids to know it could be their time to take that shot,” Kirkpatrick said. “We know they are going to concentrate a lot on Dyer and other kids have got to be ready … to take that shot.”
Cunningham said the lesson for his players from the game is how critical each possession is.
“The experience of it, I think, will help us, whether it be down the road in the regional tournament, or– we’ve got everybody but one guy back – in the future as well, if we learn from it,” he said.
Both teams have qualified for the Fourth Region Tournament at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green. The tournament begins Tuesday with a pair of first round games.
SCORE BY QUARTER
1 2 3 4 1OT 2OT Total
Monroe 16 9 14 8 8 18 73
Barren 12 13 13 9 8 13 68
Monroe: B. Dyer, 23; C. Clements, 17; T. Mink, 13; T. Kirkpatrick, 9; B. Massingille, 7; B. Walker, 2; J. Brooks, 2.
Barren: J. Coomer, 20; B. London, 13; W. Bandy, 12; P. Stephens, 11; T. Smith, 5; G. Arterburn, 3; B. Reed, 2; T. Mosby, 2.