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By Darren George, Contributing Writer
When the postseason starts in basketball, it’s known as the second season, and for Nelson County, the second season began with a tremendous 75-58 19th District Tournament victory Monday over Washington County.
The game saw four distinct runs, with the Commanders (2-23) getting off to a hot start but the Cardinals racing ahead by halftime, only to see Washington County make a big run to take a 48-47 lead just before the end of the third quarter.
But Nelson County (8-20) had the final big run, hitting a free throw to end the third and scoring the first nine points of the fourth to take control for good and set up a 7 p.m. meeting tonight with top-seeded Bardstown (21-6).
“I thought we all played good,” said Nelson junior Tyler Reynolds, who erupted for a game-high 32 points. “They found me when I was open and I knocked my shots down. We have got to come out ready to play. It’s the post-season and anything can happen.”
Ty’Lyn Byas got seven of his 11 points as the Commanders jumped out to an 18-13 lead at the end of the first quarter and 27-21 midway through the second frame.
That’s when Reynolds started to heat up, scoring nine points during a 12-0 Nelson run to make it 33-27 with a minute left in the half.
The Commanders got hot to start the second half, scoring five in a row to tie it at 33, but the Cardinals scored six in a row to pull back ahead, 39-33.
From there, Washington County got hot behind Derek Barr — who hit three of his four three-pointers during the third quarter — and pulled ahead, 48-47, with less than a minute to go in the third.
“We got where we wanted to start that final period,” Commanders assistant coach Paul Howard said. “We give up a few points in a row, and the ball just didn’t bounce our way.”
By the start of the fourth quarter, the score was tied at 48-48 until Nelson County came out and changed defenses, which sparked the 9-0 run to start the frame.
“Our switching up on defense I thought was a key factor,” Cardinals head coach Bev Hart said. “After that first quarter, we played a pretty solid game. Tyler played extremely well, and most of our guys took some good shots and went to the basket hard.”
Washington County, the No. 5 seed, was led in scoring by Barr with 12 points, and Morgan Churchill added 10.
Nelson’s Zech Maulden scored 11 and Drew Martin added 10 points.
By John Overby, Sun Sports Writer
Last Friday night’s “Senior Night” had a bittersweet tone after WC’s 64-49 loss to the Henry County Wildcats (19-9).
All five seniors started the game out for the Commanders, and seniors Ty’Lyn Byas, Thomas Pettus and Morgan Churchill combined for 31 of the team’s 49 points on the evening.
Despite the wealth of experience that WC brought to the table, though, Henry brought more, toting eight seniors on their roster, most of which were bigger than WC’s players.
According to assistant coach Paul Howard, this size mismatch was one of the biggest factors in his team’s loss.
“We weren’t used to seeing anyone as physical as they were,” Howard said, “ and I think that threw us out of our rhythm a little bit.”
But with three minutes to go, WC still found themselves within striking distance, trailing by only eight.
However, Henry put an end to any hopes that the Commanders had of picking up a win by rattling off an 8-2 run, clinching the 15-point win.