It’s that time of the year again — win or go home. The 20th District Boys’ Basketball Tournament tipped off last night in Campbellsville, and the Adair County Indians are set to take the court tonight, Feb. 24, for their matchup against the tournament-hosting Eagles.
The Tribe’s 3-3 district record this season (18-11 overall) places Adair as the 3-seed in what looks to be a competitive matchup. No. 2-seed Campbellsville finished the regular season 4-2 in the district and 20-9 overall.
“They’re one of the best defensive teams in the state,” Adair head coach Deron Breeze says of his squad’s opponent. “They went to the ‘All-A’ state tournament and held a team averaging 70-some points a game to about 40, so we know we have to take care of the ball and take good shots. Sometimes, we take a bad shot just to take a shot, and when you’re not in rebounding position, those lead to layups on the other end, so we’ve got to eliminate those.”
The Indians and Eagles met twice during the regular season, with the visiting team winning both games. Adair knocked off Campbellsville on Dec. 10, 46-40, and then lost the home tilt Feb. 4, 52-41. Breeze, recently voted by his peers as 5th Region Coach of the Year, says dictating pace and taking efficient shots will be the important factors.
“If we can make them score in the half court and limit their free points, I think that’ll work in our advantage,” Breeze explains. “We’re going to have to hit some threes and hit some open shots.”
Hitting threes will be a little harder for the Tribe than if the team were fully healthy. Senior sharpshooter Randall Camfield, who has seen his role on the team grow steadily throughout the year, will miss the game due to injury. Camfield averaged four points per game during the regular season but was perhaps most valuable as a floor spacer, creating room for Adair’s playmakers. As the team’s best spot-up shooter, Camfield nailed 41 percent of his threes during the regular season.
The Eagles’ top player, senior forward Jay Milburn, currently ranks second in the state in rebounds per game and has averaged 22.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in his two contests against Adair.
Adair will run its offense through guards Connor Loy and Lucas Pooler, as well as big man Luke Janes. Loy, a freshman point guard, averages 15 points, 4.5 rebounds, and four assists per game. Pooler sported 13-5-3 averages this season, while Janes averaged a 16.7 point, 10.3 rebound double-double.
Pooler and Janes, both seniors, joined the Indians’ prestigious 1,000-point club earlier this season.
Brady Cundiff, another senior, is the team’s fourth starter and defensive specialist. Cundiff is one of the squad’s most experienced players, and averaged a point, an assist, two rebounds, and a block per game during the regular season.
The rest of the rotation has remained fluid this year. Breeze says he planned to start Camfield tonight, prior to his injury, and that 6’3” freshman Brayton Coomer will fill in his spot. Coomer has shown improvement all season and finished the year averaging 5.6 points per game. He went for a season-high 23 against Caverna earlier this month.
“Coomer will start, and J.B. [Piatt] will be the sixth man,” Breeze says. “Seven and eight will be Carter White and Blane Bardin in this one. I think we’ll probably play eight guys. With Camfield out, that hurts our shooting, so someone else will have to step up.”
An Adair win will secure a berth in the upcoming 5th Region Tournament and place the squad in the district championship game, set for Saturday, Feb. 26.
During the 1-seed V. 4-seed matchup in Campbellsville last night, underdog Marion County, who entered the game winless in district play and sporting a putrid 3-24 overall record, nearly pulled off the upset. The Knights led by as many as nine in the second half before eventually losing to Taylor County, 54-49.