Two straight defeats following a 14-0 start had the Lyon County boys basketball team taking a closer look at itself in hopes of regaining its form. The Lyons did just that Wednesday, routing Kentucky Country Day on its home floor in Louisville, 91-58.
“We had a really good showing today. I was really proud of the guys,” Lyons head coach Ryan Perry told The Sun following the game. “It felt a little bit more like normal today. It felt good to get back to the way we want to play.”
Lyon County and Kentucky Country Day were initially set to square off Wednesday at Eastern Kentucky University’s McBrayer Arena as part of the All “A” Classic State Tournament, but that event was canceled due to inclement weather and dangerous driving conditions. The Lyons had made it to Richmond prior to the cancellation and ended up playing Walton-Verona at EKU. They ended up agreeing to stop in Louisville to play KCD on their trip back to Eddyville on Wednesday afternoon.
Freshman Travis Perry led the way for the Lyons with a double-double of 23 points and 12 assists to go with five steals. Perry, the team’s leading scorer, was held to just five points in the first half but dished out eight assists before breaking out with 18 second-half points. Points were initially hard to come by against the defense of KCD sophomore Ryan Johnson.
“The kid (Johnson) that was guarding him is a phenomenal defender, and he guarded Travis all over the court,” Ryan Perry said. “We knew it was going to be tough on Travis today because of the (defensive) attention, but he was able to get some other guys going.”
Junior Jackson Shoulders joined Perry in contributing a double-double, as he finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
“Jackson was a beast inside,” Ryan Perry said. “He did a really good job on the boards today and got in the right spots and got a lot of buckets when we needed them. They (KCD) didn’t really have anything to match his inside presence.”
Freshman Brady Shoulders (18 points) and junior Nick Whalin (12) also scored in double figures for the Lyons (15-2).
“Brady Shoulders had his best game that he’s had since I’ve been coaching him in high school,” Ryan Perry said. “He was the difference in the game. He was tough inside and made a lot of nice jump shots when we needed him. Travis had several assists to Brady for some easy buckets and got him going. We had some guys step up and play some good ball for us.”
Sophomore Will Crockett made five 3-pointers and finished with 30 points to lead the Bearcats (5-8).
Crockett opened Wednesday’s game with back-to-back triples to give KCD an early 6-0 lead as part of an 11-3 spurt over the first three minutes.
“Crockett is one of the best players in the state, and we lost him there early, and he made a couple shots and got going,” Ryan Perry said.
Five early turnovers proved costly for the Lyons, but they tightened up their play and ended up tying the score at 11 on a 3-pointer from senior Clay Haines.
That triple was part of a 12-0 Lyon County run to end the first quarter, sending the Lyons into the second leading 15-11.
“We were down 11-3, and they were kind of having their way with us. But we got it turned around,” Ryan Perry said. “We got a little bit of production from our bench. A couple guys came in and gave us some big minutes and made a couple big shots to get us going in the right direction. Our defense took off after that, and we got settled in and ran with it.”
Lyon County ended up holding KCD scoreless for a spurt of over six minutes spanning from the first into the second quarter as part of an 18-0 run capped by a 3-pointer from Brady Shoulders.
A triple from KCD sophomore Jack Stodghill ended the drought, but the Lyons had found their rhythm and took a 32-19 lead into halftime.
“Our defense sets the tone for us because it allows us to get up and down the court and play the way we want to play,” Perry said. “Our guys got locked in there, and we were flat-out defending all over the court and causing some big problems. Our guys were flying around all over the place and were playing loose, and that really got us going.”
That halftime lead was far from safe, though, as the Lyons’ four-point loss to Walton-Verona on Tuesday came after they led by 11 at halftime.
Remembering that blown lead, they kept their foot on the gas throughout Wednesday’s second half.
They led 58-32 at the end of the third quarter en route to posting their fifth game of 90-plus points this season.
“I think everybody wishes they had a do-over (Tuesday) night, and we talked about that in the team meeting with how we have to seize opportunities like that,” Ryan Perry said. “So at halftime we told the guys to continue to push and put this game out of reach, and we went out and did that in the third quarter.”