It wasn’t a game that was pretty on the eyes shooting-wise, but Bourbon County knows it has to win that way at times.
Neither Mason County or the Colonels were able to get things going offensively, the two combining to shoot 39 percent from the field. In the end it was Bourbon County rallying from a 14-point second half deficit for a 77-61 victory that needed an extra four minutes to decide it.
The Royals controlled the contest for the majority, taking a 25-12 lead into halftime and 40-30 advantage into the fourth quarter.
“I feel like we were right there. Thought we played extremely well for the first 26-27 minutes of the ballgame, felt like we controlled the tempo from the start ‘til midway through the fourth quarter,” Royals coach Brian Kirk said. “Give it to Bourbon County, they continued to battle, continued to hang around. I felt like the margin could have been a little bigger at halftime. We had some unforced turnovers, some easy missed opportunities. But overall, a lot of guys have counted out this team this early. I think whatever anybody else thinks our guys know this team can compete, we saw that tonight.”
As the final quarter wore on, Bourbon County started to get their defensive pressure ramped up, forcing turnovers and getting things going in transition.
“Throughout the game, we’re a team that has to cause a problem. We’re not a team that can’t lay back and play with somebody. We have to dictate pace,” Colonels coach LaMont Campbell said. “We’ve got to be a team on the go whether it’s on defense or on offense. I felt like for two and a half, three quarters, we kind of played their pace. They spread us out, they walked it up and that’s not us. That’s not who we are, we’ve got a lot of weapons and we’re downhill guys. When it finally clicked, it worked in our favor.”
They’d finally tie things up at 46-all on a Brycen Collins 3-pointer with 3:17 to play. They got their first lead of the night on two Amirion Joyce free throws which was short-lived after an Alex Shalch turnaround jumper.
A four-point burst gave the Colonels the lead back with under a minute left at 55-52, Jeremiah Jones hitting 1-of-2 free throws to get the Royals back within two. After three straight turnovers, two by Bourbon and one by Mason, Schalch tied the game up with seven seconds to play at 55-all after scoring off an in-bounds play.
Nakyir Joyce put up a floater in the closing seconds for the win, but drew iron and the Royals had two seconds left after a timeout called. Collins intercepted a fullcourt pass, his three-quarter court heave getting off after the horn sounded to get the game to overtime.
Then it was all Colonels in the extra frame. It started with a Jack Huckabay 3-pointer and they’d never look back from there, going on a 16-2 run before a Jayden Riggs putback gave the Royals their first field goal in overtime, trailing 71-59.
With three players fouled out and two unavailable to an injury and a school choir trip, the Royals had nothing left to mount a comeback in the closing minutes of overtime, dropping them to 1-2 on the season.
“Fatigue got us there. Sometimes other teams hit big shots and it just kills your confidence. It drains you physically and also mentally,” Kirk said.
Meanwhile, Bourbon County found a way, getting to 3-0 on the season.
“You take ‘em. It’s early December. Both teams will be better come January, February. But at the end of the day, an ugly win is a win,” Campbell said.
The two combined to hit just 4-of-39 shots from the 3-point line, Bourbon 3-of-18, Mason 1-of-21.
Mason County was whistled for 37 fouls in the contest, four players fouling out. On the other end, Bourbon County was whistled for 22 fouls.
“For a team that likes to pack it in defensively and still foul 37 times versus a team that wants to get up, ride you all the way down the floor and foul 22 times, I feel like that could have been a difference in the game as well,” Kirk said. “We can take that, we can say fouls, we can say missed shots but bottom line is we have to execute come clutch time.”
A total of 41 combined turnovers were committed, 24 by Mason, 17 by Bourbon.
The Royals 12 points allowed in the first half led over from the Frankfort game on Saturday, where they allowed just seven points in the second half, creating a span of four quarters allowing 19 points.
Carson Brammer (injury) and Braden May (school trip) were the two to miss the contest for the Royals. That could point to the 3-point shooting woes. The two knocked down 70 3-pointers combined last season.
The Royals will return to action on Friday when they host Scott in the Mike Murphy Classic at 7 p.m. Three games will take place that night as Wesley Christian opens up with Beckley Prep (WV) at 5:30 p.m., Mason-Scott playing at 7 p.m. and Blue Ridge (VA) taking on Dohn Prep (OH) to close out the tripleheader on Friday.
“We’ve got a lot of talented teams coming in. Very excited for the opportunity to put it on in the name of Mike Murphy. My assistant coaches have done a great job of getting these teams in here and we’ve got a lot of elite level players and teams coming in,” Kirk said.
Six games will then follow on Saturday, Mason County playing the fifth game of the day at 6 p.m. against Cooper.
COLONELS 77, ROYALS 61 (OT)
Bourbon (77) – A. Joyce 21, Scrap Joyce 18, Bone Joyce 11, Lukonga 10, Huckabay 9, Collins 5, Faulkner 3
Mason (61) – Schalch 21, Frey 14, J. Jones 10, Swolsky 9, Riggs 4, Henry 3
Field Goals: Bourbon 23/54, Mason 22/61
3-Pointers: Bourbon 3/18, Mason 1/21
Free Throws: Bourbon 28/43, Mason 16/26
Rebounds: Bourbon 42 (Lukonga 7), Mason 45 (Swolsky 12)
Turnovers: Bourbon 17, Mason 24
Records: Bourbon County 3-0, Mason County 1-2
Mason County’s Xylon Frey (20) collects a pass while guarded by Bourbon County’s Amari Faulkner (4), Tuesday, at the Mason County Fieldhouse. (Evan Dennison, The Ledger Independent)