OWENSBORO Lawrence County could not tell a lie: it needed help keeping George Washington III from scoring for Christian Academy of Louisville.
So the Bulldogs told coach Chandler Thompson so.
“I feel like our guys do a really good job as far as communicating with myself and our coaches,” Thompson said. “They felt like going zone we would be able to keep Washington out of the gaps a little better there in the third quarter, and we went to zone, and when we did, it put (CAL) on their heels a little bit and had them guessing.”
After Lawrence County took a 25-11 lead through one quarter in the Kentucky 2A state quarterfinals on Thursday night, CAL rallied with a 22-14 edge in the second frame. The tactical change helped the Bulldogs get rolling in the second half, outscoring the Centurions 36-21 after intermission to pull away to a 75-54 victory at the Owensboro Sportscenter.
Washington, an Ohio State commit, scored 22 points for the Centurions, but only one other CAL player reached double figures — Kirk Lemons with 13.
“(Washington) gave us a lot of trouble, but he’s gonna give a lot of teams trouble,” Thompson said. “Thankfully, we were able to come up with some dry possessions on their end that turned into points for us on our end, and gave us a good enough cushion going into the fourth quarter.”
Lawrence County (15-2) got five players in double figures, led by Trenton Adkins’s 23 points. He also cleared 16 rebounds.
Tyler Johnson added 17 points, fueled by five 3-pointers, and Cody Maynard chipped in 16. Will Lafferty delivered 11.
The Bulldogs never trailed and forced 18 Centurions turnovers while committing seven. Lawrence County outscored CAL (13-4) by a wide margin both in the paint (40-20) and on the break (22-11).
The Bulldogs shot 57.1% from the field in the game and held the Centurions to 28.4%. CAL’s average dropped dramatically with a 1-for-18 showing on field goals in the fourth quarter.
“Our kids came right out of the gate with no fear at all,” Thompson said. “They came out shooting the ball extremely well, guarding it well, got off to a hot start, and it really carried over for the rest of the game.”
Washington was named to the All-Tournament Team.
The Bulldogs advance to Saturday’s semifinals to meet Knox Central, the Section 7 Tournament champion. The Panthers beat LaRue County, 68-58, earlier Thursday.
Lawrence County took in that game before its own and came away impressed with Knox Central’s size and strength, Thompson said.
“It’s gonna be a tale of two styles, I guess you could say,” Thompson said. “It’s no secret we want to get up and down the floor. We definitely don’t want to get in a half-court game with them. That’s no secret.”
CAL 11 22 12 9 — 54
LAWRENCE CO. 25 14 17 19 — 75
Christian Academy of Louisville (54) — J. Washington 2, Lemons 13, G. Washington 22, Con. Hodge 5, Hill 3, Strong 7, Wahl 2, Col. Hodge, Stinebruner, Sangalli, Wilkinson, Wilson, Hitch, Williams, Gladieux. 3-Pt. FG: 6 (G. Washington 2, Lemons, Con. Hodge, Hill, Strong). FT: 10-12. Fouls: 18.
Lawrence County (75) — Johnson 17, Maynard 16, T. Adkins 23, Gillispie 5, Lafferty 11, Bloomfield 1, Brown 2, Bellomy, Marcum, Horn, R. Adkins, Ratliff. 3-Pt. FG: 8 (Johnson 5, Maynard, Gillispie, Lafferty). FT: 11-18. Fouls: 16.