SCOTTSVILLE, Ky. — If life was a video game, Allen County-Scottsville junior Mason Shirley would’ve had a flame under him like in 2K in the final minutes of Tuesday’s first-round 15th District Tournament game against Glasgow.
With his team trailing 43-37 with under four minutes to play, Shirley scored the Patriots’ final 14 points of the game to rally ACS to a 51-48 victory over the Scotties.
“We went through a dry spell a bit where things really weren’t going our way,” Shirley said. “I think it could have been any one of us that scored that 14. Jax (Cooper) played big tonight, and Owen (Stamper) played huge as well. I’m just blessed to have had the opportunity.”
ACS (15-14) also benefitted from its stellar defense during the late first half and early second half as these efforts helped the Patriots weather a period of nearly eight minutes without a field goal.
“We believe in ourselves and we hang our hat on defense,” Patriot coach Brad Bonds said. “We just told them to keep grinding defensively and keep executing our offense and we had a couple of possessions where we had much-needed baskets. (Shirley) made the big shot, and a lot of energy just flowed back into us.”
Glasgow (14-14) led 33-30 entering the final quarter before ACS began to chip into the deficit. Charlie Calvert netted a 3-pointer from the wing to make it a two-possession game before a trifecta by Shirley made it 43-40 with 3:16 remaining.
That was the beginning of the personal run for Shirley as he hit two free throws on the next Patriot possession to make it a one-point game.
Having blown a couple of opportunities to take the lead, ACS took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Shirley with 45 seconds left. From there, the ACS defense came up with stops and Shirley knocked down six consecutive free throws to seal the deal.
“I think our coaching staff and players have a lot of trust in me to knock down that shot,” Shirley said. “I knew if I missed that we still had a chance.”
Shirley led ACS with 25 points, seven assists and seven rebounds while Jax Cooper did a nice job maneuvering inside the paint on the way to a 13-point game. Calvert finished with five points, Stamper had four, and Michael Smith and Tyler Ford each tossed in two.
Glasgow was led in the loss by Nik Sorrell with 20 points while Jaden Franklin added a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Scotties, who will lose seven seniors from this year’s team.
Meanwhile the Patriots will now host top seed Barren County for the district title on Friday night. Bonds knows his team will be in for a battle against the fundamentally-sound Trojans.
“First and foremost they are well-coached,” Bonds said. “They have a deep bench and a great strategist in (Cunningham). I grew up with Warren and I know what kind of mind he has. They’re very talented: they do what they do and do it well on both ends of the court. We definitely have our hands full. We definitely played well against them last time without (Stamper), so we’ll go and prepare. We’re going to feel good about this one (Tuesday night), but most importantly we have more basketball to play this season:
Allen County-Scottsville 51, Glasgow 48
ACS (51): Mason Shirley 25, Jax Cooper 13, Charlie Calvert 5, Owen Stamper 4, Michael Smith 2, Tyler Ford 2. Totals: 16-42 15-17 51. 3-point goals: 4 (Shirley 2, Calvert, Cooper 1). Rebounds: 23 (Shirley 7, Stamper 6). Turnovers: 8.
Glasgow (48): Nik Sorrell 20, Jaden Franklin 10, Bowen Haney 7, Robert Kingery 6, Owen Riddle 3, Landon Frasier 2. Totals: 19-41 6-9 48. 3-point goals: 4 (Sorrell 3, Haney 1). Rebounds: 28 (Franklin 10). Turnovers: 15.
ACS 11 7 12 21 –51
Glasgow 13 12 8 15 –48