The Madisonville Maroons pulled away in the second half Friday night to beat the Storm 82-64. The win pushes North to 15-6 in the year and sweep the season series versus Central. Kenny White had a team high of 24 points and Ksuan Casey had 17 in a game where the Maroons dominated the post.
The first half was a tightly-contested affair. Neither side could build a lead of more than six points. Every time one team would get on a scoring run, the other would respond. The first quarter ended tied at 19-19.
The game was played at a very quick pace, with the game constantly being in transition. Both teams constantly pressed and forced turnovers. Neither team could establish their offense which continued a scrappy game from the start. The Maroons went to the half ahead by four points.
“They were the more intense side coming out to start. They played harder than us in that first half,” said North Coach Matt Beshear. “We were juggling back, and it made the game to be consistently in transition, which is what they wanted to play.”
In the second half, the Maroons kept their composure, slowly playing their offense. This led to a composed performance by North down the stretch, where the Maroons would try to run their offense in every play, never taking quick shots. Their change of offense proved promising, as the Maroons extended their lead from 4 points to 14, outscoring the Storm 20-10 in the third quarter.
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“At halftime, we told our kids a couple of things — we needed to sprint back on defense and force them to play half-court offense against us, and to slow down the pace of offense and get good possessions,” Beshear said.
After North created separation it was hard to get them to throw it away in the fourth. The Storm was able to cut the lead down seven points in the fourth but could never find the defensive stops to get them back in the game. Once the Maroons confidence grew, their offense didn’t stop cruising through.
All three guards for North found themselves in double figures with J.D. Gilbert getting 12 points alongside Marquise Parker and Cade Cunningham, who both scored 10. The guards were key for North, as they slowed down the pace of the game and handled the Storm’s press in the second half.
“Our guards really shined in the second half showing composure in such a big game, down the stretch was key for us,” said Beshear.
Tylan Mann was the leading scorer of the night getting 26 points for the Storm. With the loss, Central falls to 11-8 in the year with only nine games left in their regular season. Next up for the Storm is a trip to Caldwell County on Tuesday.
Up next for the Maroons is a tough test versus Owensboro Catholic at home at 7 p.m. Tuesday.