Indiana All-Stars start slow, rally, but fall short in loss to Kentucky boys

OWENSBORO, Ky. -- Disappointed. Dejected. Frustrated.

Those are just a few words Indiana All-Star coach Don Carlisle used after the Kentucky All-Stars dominated most of Friday night’s game at the Owensboro Sportscenter, let the lead slip away, then dropped the hammer for a 94-90 victory.

“They are a great transition team,” Carlisle said of the Kentucky All-Stars. “We knew it. Two guys were supposed to be back … and we just didn’t make shots.”

Indiana All-Star Markus Burton (1) rushes up the court Wednesday, June 7, 2023, during the Indiana All-Stars vs. Juniors boys game at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis.
Indiana All-Star Markus Burton (1) rushes up the court Wednesday, June 7, 2023, during the Indiana All-Stars vs. Juniors boys game at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis.

Kentucky landed the first punch. And the second. And the third. The Indiana All-Stars trailed by scores of 14-0, 22-3 and 32-14 early in the game as Kentucky filled the lanes and seemingly scored at will. The Indiana All-Stars said after the game they were not surprised by Kentucky’s athleticism, but it certainly seemed to catch them off guard.

“Chip on your shoulder,” said Owen County’s Teagan Moore, a Western Kentucky recruit. “That’s how we play.”

The Indiana All-Stars played catch up all night, trailing by 12 at halftime. The lead ballooned back to 20 points and was a healthy 77-58 advantage with 7 minutes remaining. That’s when things got wild.

“The energy was do or die,” Zionsville’s Logan Imes said. “You are doing everything you can to get back in the game.”

The Indiana All-Stars ramped up the defensive pressure and finally started making shots. In a blink, the All-Stars ripped off a 20-0 run. Imes hit back-to-back 3s to bring Indiana within 77-71, then Mason Jones scored, IndyStar Mr. Basketball Markus Burton drilled a 3-pointer and then scored again.

Indiana, after struggling all night, suddenly led 78-77. The All-Stars pushed it to 82-79 on an alley-oop from Burton to Myles Colvin with 3:08 left.

“We started hitting shots,” Imes said. “Unfortunately for us, we couldn’t sustain it for the last couple minutes.”

The Kentucky All-Stars stemmed the tide with four consecutive points from Moore, who led the team with 31 points. Then, on maybe the biggest possession of the game, Kentucky’s Marcus Eaves banked in a 3-pointer from the left wing to make it 86-82 with 1:41 left.

“I’m extremely disappointed with the effort,” Carlisle said. “But I am extremely impressed they came back from down 20 in the second half and came back and took the lead. You always have to look for the positives. They were down 20 and fought and clawed, showed some heart and grit.”

Penn’s Burton carried the Indiana All-Stars through a mostly miserable first half, scoring 24 of his game-high 33 points. The Notre Dame recruit shot 13-for-25 from the field and added six rebounds and five assists. Bloomington North’s JQ Roberts added 16 points and nine rebounds and Ben Davis guard Sheridan Sharp added 13 points, five rebounds and three steals.

But it was not enough on a night when Kentucky ended a seven-game losing streak to Indiana and won for just the third time in 27 games going back to 2008. Indiana will get a chance to earn a split Saturday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse and keep Kentucky from sweeping the series for the first time since 1986.

“When we get in this position, we have to play our hardest and toughest because of what we’re representing,” Roberts said. “That ‘Indiana’ on our chest means something.”

The 6-6 Moore said the ‘Kentucky’ also meant something for his team. The Kentucky All-Stars rolled to a 144-100 win over the Kentucky Junior All-Stars last weekend, utilizing the same uptempo style that vexed Indiana. Bellarmine recruit Kenyon Goodin added 14 points for Kentucky and 7-1 Miami of Ohio recruit Reece Potter had nine points, 16 rebounds and five blocked shots.

“If we could get them on their back foot to start the game, more power to us,” Moore said. “It worked. We like to run and gun, get out in transition whenever we can.”

Kentucky Mr. Basketball Reed Sheppard, a Kentucky recruit, is not playing with the team this weekend. Indiana is without Cathedral’s Xavier Booker, who reported to Michigan State on Thursday, and will be without Heritage Christian’s Myles Colvin Saturday due to a USA Basketball commitment.

It is an 0-2 week so far for the All-Stars, who dropped a 105-100 decision to the Junior All-Stars Wednesday at Cathedral.

“We got off to another slow start,” Burton said. “It happens. It’s not like we’ve been playing with each other forever. We didn’t get the job done. We’re going to come back tomorrow and get the job done and we’re going to win.”

The Indiana All-Stars shot just 7-for-34 from the 3-point line and were 9-for-18 from the free-throw line. Those numbers are not good enough to win most nights.

“But we shouldn’t have to rely on making shots to bring energy,” Imes said. “We have to do that from the beginning.”

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Indiana All-Stars fall to Kentucky boys in Owensboro