The Todd County Central Rebels notched a historic 65-63 win over Monroe County on Wednesday night in the 4th Region tournament at Diddle Arena at Western Kentucky University. The Rebels last won a game in the regional tournament in the 2001/02 season, when they advanced all the way to the championship before losing 70-64 to Warren Central. The win is Todd County’s fourth straight and sixth in its last seven outings, improving its overall record to 19-12. Monroe County’s season comes to an end, leaving it at 19-11 on the year.
Senior guard Tashaun Foster got the Rebels going with two three pointers within a minute and a half to stake them to a 10-7 lead with 3:25 left in the opening quarter. With just under a minute left, junior guard Clayte Weathers drained a pull-up jumper for a 16-13 Rebel lead, but the Falcons drew a foul at the buzzer and converted both free throws to cut the lead to 1 at 16-15.
Rebels’ senior guard Nolan Barrow picked up his second foul and went to the bench with only :30 gone in the second quarter, before a Monroe County bucket gave it the lead for the first time at 17-16. With 5:33 left in the half, senior center Collin Sharp scored and was fouled, missing the free throw, but giving Todd County back the lead. Rebel senior forward Elijah Bell came off the bench to score 4 straight, but the Falcons answered to tie the game at 22 with 3:34 to play in the quarter. Calvery completed a three-point play for a 27-22 score, before Monroe County missed the front end of a one and one, and Bell was fouled pulling down the rebound. He sank both attempts, but the Falcons went end to end to beat the buzzer with a layup and trim the Rebels’ halftime lead to 29-24.
Calvery led Todd County with 9 points, followed by Foster, Weathers, and Bell with 6 each. For the Falcons, senior guard Billy Michael Dyer had 9, with senior guard Tyree Mink adding 6.
Foster began the second half with a three to open up the Rebels’ largest lead so far at 32-24. The Falcons responded with two three pointers over the next minute, but Barrow scored his first points of the game on a drive and layup for a 6-point lead. Calvery scored on a nice move in the paint to restore the 8-point lead, but Monroe County scored the next 5 to again cut it to 3 at 38-35. Bell hauled down a rebound and scored, but the Falcons drilled a three to get to within 2 with 2:28 left in the third. Calvery was called for a charge, giving Monroe County the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead, but they couldn’t convert. In maybe the most important passage of the game, Barrow drew a foul, and the Falcons’ Dyer was hit with a technical, awarding the Rebels four free throws and the ball. Barrow coolly hit all four, giving them the lead and all the momentum. Foster’s three-point attempt rimmed out at the buzzer, but the Rebels had stretched a 2-point lead to 6 in the last five seconds to take a 44-38 lead into the final period.
Bell scored off an assist from Calvery to begin the last eight minutes, before the teams traded baskets for a 48-42 score. With just under six minutes to play, Barrow picked up his fourth foul and the Falcons hit both free throws to trim the lead to 4. After a Monroe County three pointer with 3:27 left, the Rebel lead was still 4 at 51-47. Barrow scored on a drive, followed by a Falcon turnover and a Foster bucket to build the largest lead of the game at 58-49 with only 1:40 left. The Falcons missed two free throws, but tracked down the rebound and scored, followed by two uncharacteristic free-throw misses by Barrow. With the Rebels leaving the door open, Monroe County connected on a three to pull to 60-56 with under a minute to go. The teams traded free throws, before Calvery hit one of two for a 63-58 lead. The Falcons hit a three out of a timeout to close to 63-61, but sophomore forward Austin Rager got behind the Falcon defense to force an intentional foul. He hit both, but the Rebels couldn’t score on the ensuing possession and Monroe County got the ball down 4 with seconds remaining. A contested three bounced off, with the Falcons scoring on a putback at the buzzer for the final 65-63 score.
Barrow’s 14 points, all in the second half, led Todd County, followed by 13 points and 11 rebounds from Calvery. Foster and Bell joined them in double figures with 11 and 10, respectively. Weathers finished with 6, Rager had 5, Sharp chipped in 4, and sophomore guard DJ Johnson rounded out the scoring with a basket. Mink’s 19 points and 8 rebounds led the Falcons, with junior forward Chandler Clements adding 13 and 12. Dyer was the last of three Falcons in double figures, with 13 points and 7 rebounds.
Todd County will look to punch its ticket to the 4th Region championship game when they face Bowling Green (22-10) on Monday. The Purples advanced to the semifinal by beating Clinton County 78-52 in the early game on Wednesday.