LEXINGTON – Preseason rankings and past performance didn't mean much once the basketball was put in play Thursday night.
A explosive start and an inspired rally were the highlights for Great Crossing in a 78-64 boys' basketball loss to consensus top-25 Frederick Douglass.
“At the end of the day, we had a huge amount of things we can build off,” GC coach Steve Page said. “We took a young team that got punched in the mouth two days ago and didn't respond to anything and two days later came on the road, got up 12, I guess a 27-point swing if we got down 15, but didn't quit.”
Wild twists and turns were the rule.
Junius Burrell's seven-point outburst in the first minute staked the Warhawks to a 19-7 lead.
After going on top just before the half with two free throws, Douglass (2-0) ripped open a 51-36 advantage midway through the third period.
Back stormed GC on the strength of six 3-pointers – three by Tye Schureman, two from Carson Walls, and one courtesy of Burrell that started it all.
“Really proud of Tye. He's another one who struggled the other night,” Page said. “He went out and shot one of those from the 'D' on Douglass (the logo at half court).”
Kalib Perry's two free throws made it a 63-60 game with 4:20 left before the Broncos finished on a 15-4 binge.
In addition to a handful of empty possessions after the gritty run, GC missed three of its next five free throws,
“If we convert there late, it's probably an eight to 10-point game,” Page said
DaShawn Jackson led all scorers with 27 points for Douglass. Tyson Barrett added 16 points and eight rebounds, headlining a 35-22 Bronco disparity on the glass.
Jackson and Barrett were a combined 18-for-26 from the floor.
“I knew from last year coming in that we were going to have to stop (Jackson),” Page said. “A couple times we lost him late on drives and kind of got out of his way.”
Walls (16), Burrell (15) and Schureman (12) all scored in double digits for Great Crossing, whose early eruption was a far cry from its 23-8 deficit out of the gate in Tuesday's 73-50 loss at West Jessamine.
Burrell gave the Warhawks a 2-0 lead before the start thanks to a technical foul on the Broncos for dunking during warm-ups. He added a drive and a 3-pointer to make it a 7-0 cushion.
“The biggest play of the game early was them getting a technical,” Page said. “The other night how we fell behind so quickly, the kids really needed a quick start. And Junius had a tough game, so I wanted him to see the ball go through the bucket right away.”
Tyler Sparks, Burrell, Walls and Schureman all struck from deep and inflated that lead to a dozen.
GC never trailed until Barrett's put-back with 2:40 remaining in the half.
“The first eight or nine minutes, we defended really well,” Page said. “Now, some of that was because we made shots. But the good part about that is we haven't defended well in practice, and we didn't defend well on Tuesday. We need it for 32 minutes, but a young team, they've got to see it. They've got to start somewhere.”
Threes by Walls and Tre Dawson tied it on two more occasions. Tyliek Maxwell (eight points) sank two from the line to establish Douglass' 35-33 edge at intermission.
In the fourth quarter, Jackson started Douglass' getaway with an uncontested drive. After his air ball on a 3-point attempt nest time down the court, Julius Scearce corralled the rebound and turned it into an and-one – his only three points all night.
The Warhawks were 13-for-29 from 3-point range and 9-for-23 inside the arc. Burrell added five assists to his outstanding all-around performance.
Great Crossing's home opener is slated for 7:30 p.m. Saturday against another 11th Region contender, Madison Central.
Games against Scott County, Franklin County (41st District) and George Rogers Clark follow next week.
“We're going to lace 'em up again. The good part about whoever that guy is that put that schedule together is it should make us battle-ready," Page quipped. "We'll survive. I saw a lot of good things tonight. I think the kids can build off that."