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By Jimmie Earls
Sun Sports Writer
The Washington County Commanders closed out their regular season on the road last week. Last Tuesday, WC traveled to Hodgenville where they lost a close contest to the LaRue County Hawks, 72-70. The Commanders’ final regular season game was Friday against Moore High School in Louisville. The Mustangs defeated Washington County 66-36.
The Hawks came into play with a 19-5 record overall, 10-5 in Region 5 and 5-1 in the 18th District. Comparing records, one would say the Commanders were the underdogs, but WC dug deep and fought to the very end.
Both teams came out strong in the first quarter, with the Hawks leading 25-20 after the first quarter. The Commanders stayed close as LaRue outshot WC 16-14 in the second to take a 41-34 lead into the break.
WC came out on fire in the third quarter, outscoring LaRue 20-15 to pull within two points, trailing 56-54 heading into the final quarter. Both teams scored 16 points in the final period as LaRue held on to edge out Washington County 72-70.
“The kids are playing hard and that’s all you can ask,” said Commander assistant coach Russell Burkhead. “We shot the ball well. Lee Mudd and John Hamilton had a nice game and Joe Joe Simms is starting to get his shot coming around.”
Commander senior Lee Mudd led all scoring with 25 points on the night, including five three-pointers. Other Commanders in double digits were Hamilton with 19 and Simms with 11 Simms had three treys of his own.
WCHS 20 14 20 16 – 70
LCHS 25 16 15 16 – 72
Washington Co. (70) – Mudd 25, Hamilton 19, J. Simms 11, A. Simms 7,Purdom 6, Abell 2
3-point shots: Mudd 5, J. Simms 3
LaRue Co. (72) – Hornback 19, Sheeran 16, Mullins 11, Parr 8, J. Brewer 7, Bait 6, Wafford 3, A. Brewer 2
3-point shots: Sheeran 3, Mullins 3, Parr 2, J. Brewer 1
Things can seem intimidating when you head to a big city and play against one of the toughest schools in the state. It doesn’t make it any easier when you walk in and notice two University of Kentucky scouts who are looking at one of the opposing players.
“We walked into the gym and I looked at the top row and there were two of (UK) coach Billy Gillispie’s assistants scouting Eric Mosley,” said Burkhead.
The Commanders played catch-up as Moore went ahead 18-10 in the first quarter and outscored WC 17-10 in the second to lead 35-20 after the first half. Moore pulled away for good in the third, outscoring WC 19-7 and sealing the win by outscoring the Commanders 12-9 in the fourth quarter to come away with a 66-36 victory.
Mudd led Commander scoring with 12 points while three Mustangs scored in double figures.
Burkhead added, “I told the kids we played a really good basketball game. Sometimes you just have to tip your hat, and that team was just a lot better. They’re like Bardstown, they just shoot the ball better.”
WCHS 10 10 7 9 – 36
MHS 18 17 19 12 – 66
Washington Co. (36) – Mudd 12, J. Simms 8, A. Simms 4, Hamilton 4, Abell 3, Purdom 2, Sexton 2, Osborne 1
3-point shots: Mudd 2, J. Simms 2
Moore (66) – Mosley 21, Harrison 18, Breeden 13, Jackson 4, Boyd 3, Bryant 3, McKay 2, Maddox 2
3-point shots: Mosley 2, Harrison 3, Breden 1, Boyd 1
All slates are wiped clean as the Commanders head into 19th District Tournament play Wednesday against Bardstown. The Tigers come into the tourney with a 6-0 district record while the Commanders are seeded fourth with an 0-6 district record.
Nelson County will face off against Bethlehem Thursday night with a 7 p.m. tip-off and the boys’ district final will be played Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the Washington County High School gym.
Visit www.readthesun.com for complete coverage of the district tournament.