Chances of a white Christmas in Mason County are now smaller thanks to the Pendleton County boys’ basketball team.
The Wildcats came into the U.S. Bank Mike Murphy Classic red hot, warming up The Fieldhouse with 15 3-pointers and a 46-point effort from Dontaie Allen to top the Royals, 89-67, on Friday.
“It’s one game. We got our butts kicked. You’ve got to give Pendleton County a lot of credit. They played great tonight. They shot the ball great tonight. They executed very well on offense. In man or zone – we did some different things – they just torched us all night long,” said Mason County coach James “Buddy” Biggs. “You’ve got to give them credit.”
Trailing, 17-16, in the first quarter, Allen knocked down his first 3-pointer of the contest to put Pendleton County up two, before a jumper from Leevi Dunaway tied it back up. Cody Sullivan hit a triple to give the Wildcats a 22-19 lead at the end of the frame.
Pendleton County stayed hot from that point, knocking down 9-of-18 3-pointers in the first half to take a 47-37 lead into the break. Grant Walsh, Sullivan and Allen each had three in the half.
“Dontaie would be the first to tell you that we’re not a one-man team. He knows that he’s going to get the best defender, if not more, every night. He’s such a good passer – he had eight assists tonight – and other guys know they’re going to be open a lot,” said Pendleton County coach Keaton Belcher. “We space the floor really well and that gives our shooters an opportunity to make shots.”
Mason County was able to make up little ground in the third quarter, outscoring Pendleton County, 22-21, with the help of 14 points from Jayden Steward, making it 68-59 heading into the fourth quarter.
“We just didn’t shoot as well, number one, especially from the three. I think we were 6-of-19 and I think they were 15-of-33. We didn’t shoot as many and we didn’t shoot as efficiently obviously. Jayden Steward shot the ball really efficiently tonight. I thought he played really well,” said Biggs. “We didn’t have enough production from some of our other people, but it is what it is. It’s one game. We’ve won six out of our last seven, so I’m going to build more on that than just focusing on one loss.”
Allen started the scoring in the fourth quarter with his fourth 3-pointer, kicking off a personal 11-0 run to give the Wildcats a 20-point advantage, before a free throw from Dalton Perkins ended the run. He added three more free throws to make it 82-60, putting him at 46 points on the night before the substitutes came in with 2:10 left to close out the 89-67 win.
“Big-time players play in big-time games. When you play at The Fieldhouse it’s always a big-time game. I think Dontaie’s work ethic is why he is as good as he is. He just works harder than everybody else,” said Belcher. “To come to The Fieldhouse and win by 22 points – it says a lot about our team. Dontaie’s 46-point, 17-rebound, eight-assist performance is one of the best there’s ever been at this gym. I’m proud of him.”
Allen added 17 rebounds, eight of which were on the offensive end, and eight assists on the night. The Wildcats shot 45.5 percent from beyond the arc in the contest.
“It’s easy when your team makes shots because they’re not in as much help, so it opens scoring for me,” said Allen. “That’s what did it.”
Walsh finished with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Sullivan finished with 12 points. Pendleton County moves to 8-1 with the win and will travel to Rowan County on Saturday to take on Belfry in the Kentucky Bank Challenge. They’re scheduled to play at 12:30 p.m.
Mason County was led by Dunaway’s 22 points and six rebounds, while Steward finished with 20 points and six rebounds and Jeremiah Jones added 13 points. The Royals end a six-game winning streak and fall to 7-3 with the loss. They’ll return to action on Wednesday when they travel to Ashland Blazer for the Ashland Invitational.