By KEVIN HARRIS
Evansville Harrison’s Duncan brothers invaded Johnson Arena on Saturday night, and they showed the Jeffersonville Red Devils just how good they are.
All three siblings scored in double figures and tallied a combined 58 points to lead the Class 4A No. 7 Warriors past Jeff, 73-70. The Red Devils (14-3) had their six-game winning streak snapped.
Sophomore Everett Duncan paced Harrison (16-1) with a game-high 29 points, shooting 6-of-10 from the floor and 3-of-6 from 3-point range. But Duncan, a 90 percent free-throw shooter this season, did most of his damage at the stripe, connecting on 14-of-15 foul shots. He also grabbed seven rebounds.
Older brother Ernie Duncan scored 15 points, making 5-of-11 field-goal attempts and 3-of-8 3-point attempts. The Harrison junior also did a great job of getting the ball to his teammates with a game-high six assists.
The third Duncan brother, Stanley, poured in 14 points. Despite going 4-of-12 from the floor, Everett’s twin brother was 3-of-8 from behind the arc and nailed all three of his free throws. All three brothers are being recruited by the University of Evansville.
“Probably what they do best is shoot the basketball, but they’re complete basketball players,” Warriors’ coach Bryan Speer said. “They demonstrated a lot of toughness. I was pretty pleased with how they handled the ball with the type of pressure that Jeffersonville put on us.”
Red Devils’ coach Chad Gilbert tipped his hat to the Duncans and the rest of the Warriors.
“They stepped up and hit big shots. Those guys are good,” Gilbert said. “That’s a championship ballclub. Hopefully, we’ll get to see them sometime down the road.”
Jeff had to play most of the second half without its leading scorer, Darryl Baker, who battled foul trouble throughout the final 16 minutes.
Baker came out of the contest after collecting his fourth foul with 3:15 left in the third quarter with Jeff down 47-42. Instead of giving up, the Red Devils persevered with their leader on the bench.
Jeff went on a 15-7 run to go up 57-54 with about 5:30 left in regulation. The Red Devils got back-to-back buckets by Kortrell White and Keenan Williams to give them the three-point advantage.
After a 3 by Harrison’s Brandon Stewart tied the game at 57, Drew Ellis nailed a 15-foot jumper over Everett Duncan to put Jeff back on top, 59-57.
The Warriors answered with eight unanswered points to take a 65-59 advantage with approximately three minutes remaining. The Duncans accounted for all eight of those points, with Everett Duncan knocking down a pair of free throws and Stanley Duncan sinking back-to-back 3-pointers. Also during that stretch, Baker re-entered the game with 4:50 left.
Jeff got its deficit down to two points three times from the 2:41 mark to the 22-second mark in the final quarter. But Everett Duncan came through at the line again with a pair of foul shots with 19.8 seconds left, giving Harrison a 71-67 advantage.
Baker pulled the Red Devils to within one at 71-70 with a 3-pointer from the left wing with 11.5 seconds left. After a timeout shortly following Baker’s 3, the Jeff standout committed his fifth foul on Everett Duncan before the ball was inbounded. Everett Duncan proceeded to seal the victory with two more free throws.
In the final quarter, Everett Duncan was a perfect 8-of-8 from the stripe.
“He’s certainly a guy that we felt comfortable with at the line in that situation,” Speer said. “Fortunately, he was the one who was getting fouled, and he stepped up and made them.”
Baker wound up with a team-high 20 points, shooting 8-of-20 from the floor and 3-of-4 from 3-point range, but the senior guard only had five points on 2-of-9 shooting in the second half.
“He had some shots [that didn’t fall]. We had the ball where we wanted,” Gilbert said. “He’s made them all year, but we’re not going to worry about it. We’ll come back.”
Speer credited Stewart and forward De’Niko Scott for their defense in slowing down Baker in the latter half.
“Brandon and De‘Niko were on him 95 percent of the time, and they just did a real nice job,” Speer said. “They showed a lot of toughness and willingness to guard him. They both wanted to guard him and that says a little something about them right there. I thought we played pretty good team defense. We didn’t do anything special. We were able to contest some shots.”
Three other Red Devils scored in double figures. Ellis had 18 points, shooting 8-of-14 from the field. He scored 16 points in the second half. Williams finished with 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Jeff guard Myles Harvey had 11 points and a game-high six assists.
The Red Devils will host Jennings County on Thursday. If Jeff wins, it will clinch the outright Hoosier Hills Conference title for the second season in a row.
Also on Thursday, Jeff High will honor the 1993 state champion Red Devils before the varsity game to celebrate the 20th anniversary of that accomplishment. The varsity contest will tip off around 7:30 p.m.