By KEVIN HARRIS
LOUISVILLE – The Indiana Star Boys team’s talent was too much for Kentucky to handle in the 20th annual Battle of the Bridges on Saturday at MidAmerica Sports Center.
All 15 Hoosier Stars scored in their 102-92 victory over the Bluegrass Stars. Indiana head coach Keith Phillips liked coaching a team stocked full of some of Southern Indiana’s best players.
“They actually made it a little easier for me. The talent level was just so high, so I really enjoyed that. It makes my job a lot easier,” said Phillips, who also was the head coach of the Indiana Star Girls squad. “They were a great group of kids and I was fortunate to be able to coach them.”
Floyd Central junior Cobie Barnes, who has received NCAA Division I scholarship offers from Evansville, IUPUI and Miami of Ohio, paced Indiana with a game-high 22 points. Barnes scored 13 points in the first half, as he knocked down three 3-pointers.
Barnes says he has really focused on 3-point shooting in the offseason and it showed Saturday.
“I knew it was one of my weaknesses, so I needed to get into the gym and fix that. It turned out it helped me in this game,” Barnes said.
Phillips said Barnes was a pleasure to coach.
“I’m glad I had the opportunity to work with him and actually coach him,” Phillips said. “He’s a phenomenal player. He’s got a great attitude. Obviously, he can shoot the ball. He can get to the rim. He plays above the rim. At the next level, I think he’s going to be really good.”
New Albany senior guard Sean East collected the Indiana MVP award with 15 points. Clarksville senior Christian Stewart chipped in nine points.
Four Hoosier Stars each scored seven points, who were Providence senior Blake Murphy, Henryville senior Nick Walker, Jeffersonville senior Jaden Coleman and Floyd Central senior Luke Gohmann. Murphy transferred from New Albany to Providence this summer.
After leading 54-45 at halftime, Indiana built its lead to as high as 23 points in the third quarter. The Hoosier Stars began the period with a 20-4 run to go up 74-51 with about two minutes remaining in the stanza.
“I had to settle them down,” Phillips said about his halftime speech to his team. “We were just trying to play too much 1-on-1. We had to be locked in. We had to really move the ball well. Once we started doing that, we got our kids in spots for good shots. We were making smart decisions.”
Kentucky got within 95-88 with 1:13 left in regulation on a 3-pointer by South Oldham senior Devin Young. But Indiana closed out the game with a 7-4 spurt to seal the victory.
Young earned Kentucky MVP honors with a team-high 20 points. Young scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, which included five 3’s.
Louisville Trinity junior David Johnson tallied 17 points for the Bluegrass Stars, while Trinity senior Jay Scrubb added 13. Also for Kentucky, Fern Creek senior Ahmad Price had eight points and Elizabethtown senior Darius Harding and Newport senior MeKell Burries each scored seven.
BATTLE OF THE BRIDGES
STAR BOYS GAME
INDIANA 102, KENTUCKY 92
Kentucky 21 24 15 32- 92
Indiana 28 26 22 26-102
Kentucky: Devin Young (South Oldham) 20, David Johnson (Louisville Trinity) 17, Jay Scrubb (Trinity) 13, Ahmad Price (Fern Creek) 8, MeKell Burries (Newport) 7, Darius Harding (Elizabethtown) 7, Pierce Kiesler (Louisville St. Xavier) 6, Clint Wickcliffe (Fern Creek) 6, Jordan McClendon (Louisville Manual) 4, Tre’Saun Edwards (Louisville Iroquois) 2, Sam Weining (Louisville DeSales) 2, Ethan Driskell (Louisville Holy Cross) 0, Cam McDonogh (Louisville St. Xavier) 0.
Indiana: Cobie Barnes (Floyd Central) 22, Sean East (New Albany) 15, Christian Stewart (Clarksville) 9, Jaden Coleman (Jeffersonville) 7, Luke Gohmann (Floyd Central) 7, Blake Murphy (Providence) 7, Nick Walker (Henryville) 7, Noah Williams (Christian Academy of Indiana) 5, Bailey Falkenstein (Jeff) 4, Isaiah Harris (Clarksville) 4, Brendon Hobson (Floyd Central) 4, Terrence Browning (Rock Creek) 3, Stephen Cook (Christian Academy of Indiana) 3, Derrick Stevenson (New Albany) 3, Zane Gross (Silver Creek) 2.
3-point field goals: Kentucky 12 (Young 6, Johnson 3, Burries 1, Harding 1, Scrubb 1); Indiana 11 (Barnes 3, East 3, Cook 1, Gohmann 1, Murphy 1, Stevenson 1, Williams 1).