Competing in the semifinals of the sixth-place bracket, the local teams saw their Arby’s tournament runs come to a close against a pair of squads from Kentucky.
Bryan Station, out of Lexington, used a withering defensive press to overwhelm Gate City 68-47. Louisville Male and D-B went to overtime, where foul trouble caught up with the Indians (11-3) in a 71-69 loss.
“This is the best game we’ve played this year,” Louisville coach Tom Crews said.
The Indians, already without senior point guard Justin Sylvester, injured during Monday’s win against Science Hill, were hampered further when post Jordan Edwards got in early foul trouble for the second straight game. Edwards picked up his second and third fouls three seconds apart early in the second period Tuesday.
With or without Edwards, D-B’s sluggish first-half play was indicative of the 10:30 a.m. tipoff.
“We might have been a little leg weary,” Tribe coach Charlie Morgan said. “We milled around a little in the first half.”
Crews had an inkling the Indians might be a bit flat following their big win over the Hilltoppers.
“I thought they were asleep. I was hoping they’d be,” the coach said. “You go from a great rivalry game to an empty gym. I told my guys let’s take advantage of that.”
When Edwards was in the game, he was extremely effective. The big man scored 13 of his team-high 19 points in the second half. The Indians and Bulldogs swapped the lead four times in the final 2:15 of regulation, with one tie.
In overtime, Louisville Male scored on each of its first six possessions, while Edwards and Ashlon Adams both fouled out.
Still, the Indians had a chance. Louisville missed three of its four shots from the line in the final ticks and a final last-gasp attempt to tie or win the game with 2.3 seconds left. Going the length of the court left little opportunity to set up a shot, though.
“We probably should have got a timeout and set up something,” Morgan noted.
Leland Jones led Louisville Male with 19 points, five in OT. Tony Horne added 18 and Tyler Reynolds 15.
Todd Halvorsen contributed 16 points, Adams tallied 15 and Dustin McConnell got 13 and nine rebounds for D-B.
The Tribe committed 20 turnovers, evidence of a lack of continuity without Sylvester. Morgan acknowledged he missed the point guard as much, if not more, on the defensive end.
“Defense starts with the point guard, how much pressure he can apply on their point guard,” Morgan said. “We don’t have that right now.”
It’s unknown when Sylvester will be back, according to Morgan. Even when he does return, it won’t be at 100 percent.
“It was his knee; now it’s his ankle,” Morgan said. “Those kind of injuries just don’t heal overnight.”
In the earlier sixth-place semifinal, Bryan Station made a decisive 15-0 run as part of a 19-2 onslaught during the second quarter. Eight of the Defenders’ nine buckets in that stretch came in transition off Gate City turnovers.
“We just gave them too many possessions,” Blue Devils coach Scott Vermillion said. “You give a team that many good looks, you’re going to get beat.”
Though aggressive, Bryan Station’s pressure was nothing new to Gate City, according to its coach.
“We’ve seen it before. We didn’t have people in the right places,” Vermillion said. “You have to use all five to attack it. We left our guards on the island a little too much.”
Jordan Potts led Gate City (4-4) with 17 points. Tihlee Anderson added 12.
Joe Fain led all scorers with 17 for Bryan Station, which faces Louisville Male today at 1:30 p.m.