Adair County showed plenty of heart, but it wasn’t enough to make up for a lack of size, or at least wasn’t enough to match the size of Campbellsville Thursday night in the first round of the 20th District Tournament.
The Indians (18-12) kept the contest close throughout but ultimately fell by a score of 51-42. Campbellsville (21-9) big man Jay Milburn, a 6’7” senior who transferred from Russell County, proved why he was recently named 5th Region Player of the Year. Milburn, who didn’t score in the first half, went off for 16 points after the halftime horn and finished the game with eight rebounds and seven blocks.
“We did a pretty good job on him. We just struggled scoring is the bottom line,” Adair head coach Deron Breeze said following the loss. “He’s long, and I don’t know how many he blocked in transition, layups you kind of count on [scoring]. He erases a lot.”
The pace of the game favored the Eagles, a slowed-down, defensive struggle. Campbellsville frequently utilized a man-to-man defense on the Adair guards while letting Milburn essentially ignore his man to patrol the paint, a de-facto one-man zone.
“They’re a tough team,” Breeze says. “We just didn’t have our best game tonight. I wish we would have.”
Lucas Pooler provided the offensive spark for the Tribe. The senior, a 1,000-point scorer for his career, went for 15 points and five rebounds in his final game as an Indian. Fellow senior Luke Janes was the only other Adair player to reach double figures, finishing with 10 to go with six rebounds. Breeze was complimentary of both after the contest, as well as fellow seniors Brady Cundiff and Randall Camfield.
“Lucas has worked so hard over the years, all the way back to when he was a middle schooler,” Breeze says. “Janes has kind of developed as he went, changed his game from a straight post player to being able to step out on the floor. You don’t see Brady in the stats a lot, but I thought the biggest stat tonight was that Milburn didn’t score in the first half, and that’s a testament to Brady and how he guarded him. I wish we would have had Randall tonight — hate for his senior season to end in a walking boot.”
Connor Loy’s eight, Brayton Coomer’s four, Blane Bardin’s three, and Camden Burton’s two points rounded out the Adair scoresheet.
While the loss marks the end of the season, and the end of an era for the Tribe’s four seniors, the future remains bright for the Indians, and a glimpse of that future was on display Thursday night.
“A lot of them played tonight,” Breeze said of his talented group of freshmen. “Camden Burton gave us four good minutes there in the second quarter and Blane Bardin hit a big three, played 10 minutes. I think we’ve got the best freshman team in the district probably, and one of the best in the region. They compete, and they play hard, they’re real unselfish, and they can shoot.”