By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Darryle Rogers’ youthful flock of Cardinals were hovering around the Hardin County Tigers Friday night in the Brighton Gymnasium.
For three quarters Brighton was within striking district of beating Hardin County and earning their first win in District 13-3A play. But in a flash it was the Tigers pouncing on the Cardinals transforming a 42-31 lead into a 49-31 advantage. Despite Brighton matching the Tigers shot for shot down the stretch, Hardin County prevailed 67-47.
“Our whole thing is to prepare for the district tournament,” Rogers said. “It’s been tough but the guys had a good week of practice. They worked hard and our whole thing has been team.
“I got some help from a couple of guys,” he added. “They say in order to build a team, ‘You have to be a good head coach and dangle the playing time in front of them like a carrot. They have to come together as one. And they displayed that tonight. They showed it in the first half by playing together.”
In the first quarter the Cardinals played even with Hardin County with the score 10-10 after 8 minutes. Brighton took the lead at 17-13 when forward Lorenzo Hunt drained a three-pointer. Then Hunt committed his second foul in the half and headed to the bench.
The Tigers took advantage with a 14-0 run to build a 27-17 lead. Cardinal forward Tanner McDivitt ended Brighton’s drought with a three-pointer. And the score was 29-20 at the break.
“That five minute lapse kind of hurt us,” Rogers noted. “But we’re still playing hard. We’re still young. In the second half of the season, and we’ve got one more part of the season to go and that’s the district tournament. We have to get ready for that.”
In the third quarter Brighton displayed a flash of the team Rogers wants to see in districts making the score 33-28 in favor of Hardin County. Cardinal guard Jericho Williams hit a jumper, made a lay up and scored on a put-back basket to cut the deficit to 5 points.
But the Tigers outscored Brighton 9-3 to conclude the third quarter. And Hardin County scored the first 7 points of the fourth quarter.
Although the Cardinals started to get offensive production from players like Tyron Cooper, Derrick Somerville, Hunt and Williams, the Tigers matched their effort.
Rogers noted the defensive effort of Charles Mosely, Milton Hardy and Jerrell Wayne-White gave his team a chance to pull off the upset in the first half.
The majority of the carrots being eaten by the Cardinals are being used up by underclassmen. Rogers said his team is taking some lumps now building toward a brighter future. Rogers hopes that brightness will start next month in districts.
“By coming in everyday prepared to work, no nonsense,” Rogers noted is the key to progress. “Everybody is a team and is together helping each other. One falls on the floor, the other comes and helps him up. We’re building a team and building character.
“That’s going to help us in the district tournament,” he concluded. “My guys are going to get better. They’re going to get better.”