A team filled with veteran players coming off a state championship still needs to have goals, and Borden and coach Doc Nash accomplished another one Tuesday with a 71-40 win over Henryville.
The Braves clinched their fourth consecutive Southern Athletic Conference championship with the win over the host Hornets, and Nash said he was pleased with the accomplishment — particularly for his players.
“I think you have to give our kids some credit,” Nash said. “They’ve wanted this. They’ve fought for it. And we’ve talked about it. There’s been some tough teams in our conference. We’ve started a streak, and who knows it we’ll be able to continue it next year? But we’re going to enjoy this.”
For senior forward Garrett Vick — a key player throughout the Borden run who has been a integral member of the Braves’ squad since he was a freshman — it was a meaningful accomplishment.
“Winning our conference outright is a goal every season, we always have goals,” said Vick, who finished last night’s contest with none points and five rebounds, said. “We want to win our conference, win a sectional, regional, semistate and state. But it all starts with this one.”
Borden (14-3, 5-0 SAC) started off slow but turned on the jets midway through the first quarter when they embarked on a 12-0 run. Baskets by Elijah Weeks and Emery Dieterlen gave the Hornets (3-14, 1-4) a 4-2 lead with 4:05 remaining, but soon thereafter two 3-pointers by Caleb Hart sandwiched two short jumpers by Cody Craddock and Henryville led 13-4 with 1:57 remaining.
A basket by 6-foot-4 forward Zach Gillam with just over a minute remaining in the first quarter closed out the scoring for the Braves, who led after one 15-4.
Meanwhile, the hosts went very cold after the two early baskets, missing their next 10 shots from the floor. A 16-footer from Weeks, who led the Hornets with 24 points, ended the drought and made the score 17-8 with 4:10 remaining in the first half.
After Weeks sank a 3-pointer to make the score 39-24 with 3:35 remaining in the third quarter, the Braves scored the knockout blow with an 18-0 run over the ensuing 2:13.
While the final margin wasn’t necessarily tight, the Hornets have improved over a winless season a year ago and competed against the senior-laden Borden team.
“There were a couple of big runs where we couldn’t sustain it our defense,” Henryville coach Dan Carmony said. “I was pretty pleased with our turnovers (13), especially when they were trying to pressure us. What I was disappointed in was our offensive rebounds. We gave them too many second chances.”
Gillam led Borden with 16 points and Hart added 15.
The Class A No. 9 Braves next travel to Clarksville to face off against the Class 2A No. 2 Generals on Friday. Henryville heads to West Washington on Friday.
BORDEN 71, HENRYVILLE 40
Borden 15 20 24 12—71
Henryville 4 12 11 13—40
Borden (14-3, 5-0 SAC): McGee 11, Vollstedt 2, Vick 9, Gillam 16, Craddock 8, Hart 15, Kruer 6, Arnett 2, Gray 2.
Henryville (3-14, 1-4): Weeks 24, Robertson 5, McAfee 3, Reister 0, Dieterlen 4, Small 0, Hairston 4.
3-point field goals: Borden 3 (Hart 3); Henryville 3 (Weeks 3).
Rebounds: Borden 30 (Gillam 8); Henryville 22 (McAfee 5).
Free throws: Borden 20-26, Henryville 13-16.
Turnovers: Borden 7, Henrville 13.