The Bowling Green boys’ basketball team survived a stiff test from Allen County-Scottsville, pulling away late for a 53-38 victory in the Region 4 semifinals on Monday at E.A. Diddle Arena.
Bowling Green (22-2) withstood a third-quarter charge by the Patriots and used a strong fourth quarter to advance to Wednesday’s championship.
It is Bowling Green’s eighth straight appearance in the region championship, eclipsing the record seven straight set by Warren Central from 2001-07.
“It’s really incredible that we have been able to accomplish that,” Bowling Green coach D.G. Sherrill said. “That goes back to a lot of good players, good coaches, good coaching staffs. That is quite an accomplishment, but there is a lot of work left to do.”
Bowling Green junior guard Turner Buttry agreed it was a great accomplishment, but added the Purples still have a region title to win.
“I think it says a lot about our program,” Buttry said. “The last three years, two for me, we haven’t gotten the job done. This year that is what we really want to do. We want to come in Wednesday and we really want to win.”
The Purples’ path to the championship game started smooth, but Allen County-Scottsville (16-8) was able to withstand an early deficit and rally to push BG for most of the night.
Bowling Green jumped out to a 15-2 advantage before the Patriots slowly started to chip away, whittling the deficit to 19-17 after a Mason Shirley bucket with 3:09 left in the first half.
BG extended the margin to 24-19 at halftime, but Allen County-Scottsville opened the third quarter with six straight points – taking its first lead of the night when Michael Smith’s layup made the score 25-24 with 4:16 left in the quarter.
The Purples hit three free throws to regain the advantage before Shirley hit a 3-pointer to give ACS a 28-27 lead. BG got the lead back with an Isaiah Mason 3 on the next possession – the start of a 9-0 spurt that pushed the Purples ahead 36-28 with 7:20 left. The Patriots got as close as three with five minutes remaining, but were unable to get any closer.
“You can’t say enough good things about Allen County,” Sherrill said. “I spent four years there a long, long time ago. I know the character of those kids, the character of their basketball coach. We had to keep answering the bell. We played them twice and they played us tight both times.”
Mason led the Purples with 21 points and six rebounds, while Buttry added 15 points.
“We were able to play together, stick tight and know that we trust each other,” Mason said. “I think that is what won us this game. Defense is what we preach every day. Being able to trust each other and play good defense, even when the shots weren’t falling. I think that is what won us this game.”
Shirley led the Patriots with 15 points, while Jax Cooper added 13 points.
“The kids fought hard,” ACS coach Brad Bonds said. “We could have very easily kind of let it run away from us early. I felt like the last two years the first quarter was a big deal and we just kind of let it get away from us. Tonight we got down, but the difference was we learned how to compete. We fought and we clawed ourselves back and took the lead. In the fourth quarter, when they needed to make baskets they really isolated things that were to their advantage and we really didn’t have an answer for that.”
Monday marked the final game of Bonds’ tenure as boys’ basketball coach. Bonds had previously announced he was stepping aside after three seasons as boys’ coach, 14 overall, to coach the ACS softball team. The Patriots were 54-33 in his three seasons, advancing to the region tournament all three years. Sunday’s win over Russellville was Allen County-Scottsville’s first region tournament win since 2005.
“This is not about me,” Bonds said. “I’m very grateful to be able to have the opportunity to step over and be a part of something special. Getting this program back on the map and getting them to learn how to compete, I am very proud of that. The memories and relationships that have been built, I am very grateful for that.
“I’m not gonna go very far. I’m just gonna go outside up on the hill and we are going to coach some softball games. That’s a passion of mine as well. Hopefully we will win a lot of games on the diamond.”
Bowling Green will face Barren County or Greenwood in Wednesday’s championship game at 6 p.m. at Diddle Arena.
“We will have a quality opponent over here on Wednesday night,” Sherrill said. “But I told the guys afterwards that we’ve given ourselves a chance, given ourselves an opportunity.”
BGHS 17 7 8 21 – 53
ACSHS 6 13 9 10 – 38
BG – Mason 21, Buttry 15, Huddleston 9, Banks 4, Flanary 2, Wilson 2.
ACS – Shirley 15, Cooper 13, McIntyre 2, Smith 2, Ford 2, Turner 2, Bow 2.