Business as usual for BGH in winning regional title over RHS
By Jim Turner


Posted on March 9, 2017 12:57 AM



The Russellville Panthers got everything out of their bodies, training and talent that was within them Tuesday night. It simply wasn’t enough.

 

A tall, skilled and superbly athletic Bowling Green team, which is the favorite to win the state championship this year, beat the Panthers 81-62 for the Fourth Region championship. The Purples will move on to state next week.

For BGH, it was business as usual. This is the Purples’ fourth straight regional championship. There’s more: It was the program’s 10th straight berth in the regional finals, all with Coach D.G. Sherrill as the helm. They have won six of those titles and six games at state, including three victories two years ago when the Purples finished as state runner-up.

The Purples have gone undefeated against regional teams the past two seasons. Sportswriter Michael Compton of the Daily News in Bowling Green calculates the Purples’ winning streak 48 games against regional teams.

The Purple players have become accustomed to winning. Seniors Terry Taylor, Deangelo Wilson and Kyran Jones were three of the eight players in Sherrill’s rotation in that state finalist season two years ago. Wilson has also been a key player on Coach Kevin Wallace’s Class 5A state championships teams that have gone 29-1 the past two years.

Taylor is a finalist for Mr. Kentucky Basketball. He’s much like Russellville’s Mr. Basketball finalist, Pedro Bradshaw. AAU teammates in the summer and close friends full-time, Bradshaw and Taylor get the job done without flare or showmanship. In this game, Wilson did nothing spectacular, but he finished with 22 points and 17 rebounds along with two assists and a steal.

A casual spectator would have trouble distinguishing between Taylor and Jones as to which one is the Mr. Basketball finalist. Jones not only had 12 points and 8 rebounds in the finals, but also when the Purples were on defense, he was the one guarding Bradshaw, no matter whether Pedro was playing point guard or center. He held Bradshaw to 15 points and 7 rebounds.

Then throw in a newcomer to Bowling Green’s lineup who not only may be the team’s best player but is also the top-rated eighth grader in the nation. Guard Zion Parker, who didn’t spend his childhood in Bowling Green, had a super outing against the Panthers. He hit 5 of 6 three-pointers in the first half and finished with 25 points, 4 steals and 2 assists.

And despite all that, Russellville played even with this juggernaut three of four quarters. Bowling Green only led 18-14 after a quarter, and the two teams tied with 40 points each in the second half.

The game was decided in the second quarter. Bradshaw hit a 3-pointer with Paul Jones being credited with an assist to make the BGH lead 23-19 with 4:13 remaining in the half. Things were looking good for the Panthers.

The Purples then took advantage of two straight RHS turnovers to score seven points in the next 50 seconds. After Jacob Naylor hit a pair of free throws with 2:38 showing, Russellville didn’t score again in the half and trailed 42-22 at the intermission.

The Panthers didn’t hit a field goal in the final 253 seconds of the half and were outscored 17-3 during that time period. The Panthers were out-rebounded 13-6 in that fateful quarter, and six of the winners’ rebounds in that quarter were on the offensive end.

Russellville needed one more (non-existent) player to contend on equal terms with the Purples. He would have needed to be about 6-5 or taller with the bulk of an offensive lineman. For four years, Bradshaw has been needed to play center for the Panthers. He most likely will play off guard for Belmont University the next four years.

The great play of BGH guards Harmon and Wilson overshadowed another excellent performance by senior Panther guard Micah Naylor, who has also been part of the RHS attack on a regular basis for four years. He led Russellville in scoring in this game with 17 points, hitting five of seven 3-pointers along the way. He also had four rebounds and two assists.

His brother, Jacob Naylor, added 12 points and three assists. They made just two turnovers each.

Jaylyn McMurry, Micah Naylor and Bradshaw were named to the all-tournament team, as were Taylor, Jones, Wilson and Harmon for the Purples.

The Panthers finished 22-12. Bowling Green improved to 32-2.

 




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