ALEXANDRIA — Robertson County coach Patrick Kelsch kept wondering when it was going to come.
Leading by 10 with 55 seconds to play, there was still doubt in his mind that they were going to finally beat Bishop Brossart.
Not only were they able to do so, but did it on the Mustangs home floor, serving up some revenge from last year’s 10th Region All “A” championship with a 58-46 victory in Alexandria Thursday night.
“We felt like a couple times last year that we could get them. It seemed like no matter what they pulled something out of their hat and Brossart competed. They played every second of the game, even up 10 with 50-something seconds to go I felt like the magic was going to happen, when is it coming,” Kelsch said.
But it never came as the Black Devils did it with their defense and then Justin Becker carried the load offensively to get Robertson their second 10th Region All “A” title in program history.
Becker ended the night with 33 points and while his outside shot nor his teammates perimeter shots were falling, Becker stayed on the attack to get to the line 21 times on the night and knocking down 16 of those attempts.
“I’ve been with this group since middle school so to finish this with this group before they leave is a blessing,” Becker said. “Just needed to keep attacking the rim, they’re a team that sets up for charges a lot and I just had to keep it moving so we got open looks and good shots.”
Normally trying to outscore their opponent with transition baskets and a plethora of offensive skill and shooting, it was the Black Devils (3-0) defense that did the job Thursday night.
“The key for us was defensive rebounds. Our offensive possession doesn’t start until we get the defensive rebound. Constantly pushing defensive rebounds so we could get some transition opportunities but they did a good Job of shutting down a lot of our transition opportunities,” Kelsch said. “This is a team win. Justin told them in the timeout that everyone in this huddle did something. ‘I know I may have scored the most points, but everybody here is a part of this.’ It’s good to have a guy like Justin as a teammate who will recognize his teammates getting him the ball or just being there with them. It’s a team effort,” Kelsch said.
Leading 26-25 at half, the Black Devils were saddled in an offensive slump to open up the second half and facing a 28-26 deficit with 3:23 to go in the quarter, Robertson was able to hold Brossart to seven points in the quarter while ending on a 9-1 run to take a 37-32 lead into the fourth.
The run continued into the fourth to push their lead to double-digits at 43-32 after Becker’s third and one of the night. They were able to knock down 14-of-22 free throw attempts in the fourth to seal the deal from there, Kelsch winning his fourth regional All “A” title , two with the Black Devils and two with the Bracken County girls’ program in 2010 and ‘15.
“It’s sweet every time. I talked about it the first time, the Robertson County community deserves something like this. They support us no matter the game, no matter how big the game is, how small the game is. We always have the support of the community. Every time we do something like this is for them,” Kelsch said.
Even with the limited attendance and having to go on the road to do it like Brossart did last season, the Black Devils experienced group was able to get things done and while they’ll enjoy this one for the night, they have high hopes when they head to Richmond in February for the All “A” state tournament at Eastern Kentucky University.
“We were a little shell shocked the first time. Clinton County had a D-1 player that went to Western Kentucky. Now that we’ve been there we know what to expect, we know we’ll play the winner of the 13th. You get us there on any given night and I got Justin Becker, I’ll take my chances,” Kelsch said.
It will be their second trip in three years, coming into this one with a large group of experienced seniors and Becker the junior.
“We’re very excited to be going again. We got to make up from what we did last time. We just didn’t play very good. We’re going to bring our best because we deserved this,” Becker said.
Sebastian Dixon added 10 points for the Black Devils and also pulled down six boards. Dotson finished with eight points.
Brossart came up short for their 15th regional All “A” title and didn’t have the services of senior point guard Carson Schirmer in the game. The Mustangs were led by Gabe Smorey with 14 points, his 3-point shooting keeping the Mustangs in it through three quarters.
Stephen Verst ended with 13 points and seven rebounds, but was held in check through the majority by Dotson.
“My mindset is that if I take care of their best player that someone else beats us except him. I try to do all the dirty work, hustle, loose balls, anything I can do to help the team,” Dotson said. “I’m just hard headed and play hard.”
The loss dropped the Mustangs to 3-2 on the year.
When the Black Devils do head to EKU in February, their opening round contest will come against the 13th Region winner, still to be determined in Saturday’s championship between Harlan and Barboursville.
BLACK DEVILS 58, MUSTANGS 46
ROBERTSON COUNTY — 14-12-11-21 — 58
BISHOP BROSSART — 12-13-7-14 — 46
Robertson (58) — Becker 33, Dixon 10, Dotson 8, Pilosky 3, Dice 2, Horn 2
Brossart (46) — Smorey 14, Verst 13, Sepate 6, Govan 6, Willike 3, Clines 2, Bezold 2
3-Pointers Made: Robertson 2, Brossart 8
Free Throws: Robertson 22/30, Brossart 7/9
Rebounds: Robertson 31 (Becker 11), Brossart 23 (Govan 8)
Turnovers: Robertson 12, Brossart 16
Records: Robertson County 3-0, Bishop Brossart 3-2