TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By Chris Parsons / Sports Editor
WHITLEY COUNTY — They may have had to withstand a furious finish by Garrard County to do so, but the Whitley County Colonels opened the season with a 75-74 win Monday.
Levi Barton led the way for the Colonels with 16 points, while James Sasko added 14 and Devin Rutherford scored 12, six of which came in the fourth quarter. Casey Crisologo finished the game with 10 points, giving Jerry Overbey’s squad four players in double figures for the game.
The Lions connected for a pair of 3-pointers in the game's final seconds to cut the deficit to just a point, but ran out of time. After the win Overbey said he was pleased with his young team’s effort late in the game and the win overall.
“We played a lot of young kids and a lot of them didn’t have any varsity experience,” Overbey said. “For these kids to get in there at crunch time was a learning experience for all of us, but they did what they had to do.”
Whitley County struck first in the game, but the Lions battled back to take a 9-5 lead early. Whitley County regained the lead and eventually closed the first-quarter scoring with an old-fashioned three-point play by Crisologo, giving the Colonels the 16-12 lead at the break.
Whitley County stretched its lead to 21-14 to start the second quarter, but the Lions cut the gap to 23-22 with just over four minutes to play in the first half before grabbing the lead on two occasions as time wound down. A late bucket by Crisologo put the Colonels on top, 31-30 at halftime.
The Colonels extended the gap to 10 points in the third quarter (48-38) and held a 52-45 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but Garrard County wasn’t about to lie down.
Overbey’s squad held a six-point lead for much of the fourth quarter and had a chance to put the game away late, but missed free throws (11-of-22 in the period) gave Garrard County an opening.
Crisologo closed out Whitley County’s scoring by connecting on one-of-two free throw attempts in the final stages of the game to make the score 75-68. Garrard County’s Slade Crutchfield and Austin Sebstian connected on back-to-back 3-pointers in the final seconds to make the score 75-74.
The Colonels return to action tonight when they travel to Bell County to face the Bobcats.
“There’s no time to rest for our guys with Bell County ranked in the top three or four in the region by most people,” Overbey said. “It’ll be a tough game going over to their place, but it will be a good test for our kids.”
Whitley County 75, Garrard County 74
Garrard Co. 12 18 15 29 74
Whitley Co. 16 17 21 23 75
Garrard Co. (74) – Crutchfield 23, Sebastian 23, McCallom 13, Smith 11, Ray 4.
Whitley Co. (75) – Barton 16, Sasko 14, D. Rutherford 12, Crisologo 10, Co. Johnson 9, Woods 8, Petrey 4, Z. Rutherford 2.