Darren Doyle story
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Someone forgot to tell junior Iszic Blankenship that seniors are supposed to have the spotlight on senior night, but there were certainly no complaints as his 21 points and 10 rebounds led the Wildcats to a 71-64 win over the Greenwood Gators last night at ECHS.
Emotions were high in Brownsville as six seniors suited up at home one last time. The seniors and their families were honored in a pre-game ceremony with their families, as well as senior members from the ECHS archery team.
The Wildcats looked for revenge against the Gators as they were defeated at the buzzer in Bowling Green on December 11th.
"We hung together, we fought through a couple of runs and held on to a lead in the fourth quarter," said Assistant Coach Bart Weaver. "We missed some free throws down the stretch, but we hit some big ones late. We're really proud of theses seniors to go out with a win in our gym over a good team."
A total of four Wildcats landed in double figures last night, something that happens nightly, but Weaver noted Blankenship's performance.
"He had a great practice yesterday, just extra will and effort," he said. "He was just playing loose and he felt really good. I felt like he was going to have a big game. He really stepped it up on the boards and offensively as well. I can't say enough about Iszic."
The Wildcats started out a little too loose, allowing open looks from three point land and overall sloppy play, trailing 16-13 after the first quarter. Things stayed pretty even in the second as the Gators held a 37-34 lead at the half.
The Cats would turn things up in the third quarter thanks to three point shooting by Buttram and inside play from Blankenship that would lead Edmonson County on a 21-13 run to give them the 55-50 lead going into the final quarter.
Greenwood cut the lead to 60-57 on Dawson Crump's 3 pointer with 2:46 left in the game. Crump ended up with 31 points on the night and hit four 3 pointers. That's as close as the Gators would get as Bailey Board answered with a bucket on the Wildcats' next play. Greenwood missed another three and the next trip down the court resulted in a two-hand dunk by Blankenship over the Gator's Scotty Harris and a foul. Wildcat Alley erupted as Edmonson County took a 64-57 lead.
None of the seniors had what you'd call a career night, but as the coaching staff has noted time and again, no one on this team is looking to make headlines, they just do what's necessary to win.
Cuban Sowders talked about how the time has flown by during his time at ECHS. "I love my teammates to death," said Sowders. "They are my brothers." Sowders finished with 10 points and 6 rebounds.
Hunter Buttram, another Wildcat in double figures with 12 points and 6 rebounds, also was quick to credit his teammates. "I can't say enough about them," he said. "We've played together for many years and we've become very close."
Bailey Board also had a solid night with 19 points and 4 rebounds. Caleb Skaggs added 7 points and 7 rebounds, and senior Jacob Peger added 2.
Now they say it's time to focus on what really matters, the district tournament. Edmonson County hasn't won a title since 1993.
"It's great to have this momentum going into the tournament," said Buttram. "Winning these last couple of games has built up confidence for the team and I'm hoping it will help us heading into the district."
Sowders enjoyed the festivities of senior night, but he also said the main goal was yet to be achieved. "We still have to play our basketball and focus on the little things to get this district title," he said.
The Wildcats play Butler County Tuesday night at 6pm in the first round of the district tournament at Grayson County High School. They improve to 17-9 on the season. It's the best record the Wildcats have seen since the 2009-10 season under coach Darryl Travis where the team finished 19-8.